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After sending one of its nationals into orbit for the first time in their short history in 2019, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched a Mars exploration mission on Monday, July 20, confirming their status as a space power Arab number one and pretender to conquer the Red Planet.

An Emirati-made probe, dubbed "Al-Amal" ("hope"), the size of a 4 × 4, flew to Mars, aboard a Japanese rocket, which took off from the launch pad from Tanegashima, in the southwest of the Archipelago. This unmanned craft, which was assembled with the help of American scientists, is supposed to approach its object of study in February 2021, the year of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the UAE, a federation of seven city-states, on the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf.

This interplanetary mission, the first ever to be carried out by an Arab state, aims to collect information on the atmosphere and climate of Mars. Two other study missions to Neighbor Earth are expected to begin in the coming days, one from China and the other from the United States. A third, Japanese, is announced for 2024.

Very big ambitions In the fall of 2019, the Emirati fighter pilot Hazza Al-Mansouri had spent a week in the International Space Station (ISS), becoming the third astronaut in the history of the Arab world, after the Saudi Sultan Ben Salman Ben Abdelaziz in 1985 and the Syrian Mohamed Farès in 1987.

If the kingdom of Arabia and the regime of Damascus stopped there in terms of space conquest, the UAE, with its almost unlimited financial capacity, has very great ambitions in this area. The successful launch of Al-Amal is the first step in a long-term project worthy of a science fiction scenario: the creation of a human colony a century from now on Mars.


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