Founded in 2014, the United Arab Emirates Space Agency opened the Space Science Research Centre in Al-Anin a year later. However, the Agency only really hit headlines in 2020 with the launch of Mars Hope.
The Hope Probe
The Emirates Mars Mission sent the uncrewed Hope orbiter to Mars in July 2020, and it reached its destination in February 2021.
Designed and led by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, the mission aimed to study weather cycles on Mars, gain more understanding about the atmosphere, and find out more about the climate changes on the Red Planet.
One year on, the probe is halfway through its mission and has been orbiting Mars once each 55 hours to collate all the data needed. The information it gathers will be released publicly in October this year.
The Emirates Mars Mission has captured the world’s imagination, and has even had its own four-part documentary TV series on the National Geographic Channel. But the Hope probe is not the only Mars mission in the mix. China’s Tianwen-1 and the USA’s Mars 2020 were also launched around the same time, all taking advantage of Earth’s relatively closer proximity to Mars during this time.
Ultimately all the missions are gathering research which could prepare the ground for a future human settlement on Mars within the next 100 years; a goal which transcends individual nations.
The UAE Space Agency’s latest mission does involve crew, but is entirely ground-based.
The CrewOne team will undertake an eight-month exercise at the NEK analogue facility in Moscow where they will experience the same conditions they could expect in space. Joining other crew members from around the world, they will participate in a study looking at the physical and psychological effects of isolation and confinement over a long period of time.
As with the Hope probe, this research will contribute to future long space missions such as a crewed mission to Mars in the future.