To this illustrious list we can now add the first interplanetary expedition by an Arab country, with the UAE launching on Monday the Emirates Mars Mission. After multiple delays due to bad weather, an unmanned probe, Hope, lifted off from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan and began its 495 million kilometer journey to the Red Planet.
Once it enters orbit around Mars, the Hope Probe will study the planet’s daily and seasonal cycles, along with the erosion of the Martian atmosphere, a process that leaves the planet waterless and ill-suited to life. The UAE will share the data it collects with more than 200 academic and scientific institutions around the world free of charge.