The UAE’s Hope probe was on its final approach towards Mars on Tuesday where it is due to enter the red planet’s orbit after a six-month-long multimillion-kilometer voyage into outer space.
And UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said while there was still a 50 percent chance of failure, he remained confident of success.
The Hope Probe Mission will start the Mars orbit insertion phase later today at 3:42 p.m. GMT, having traveled 493 million kilometers since its launch from the Tanegashima island in Japan on July 20, 2020.
Once it has successfully entered the planet’s orbit, the probe will gather up to 1,000 gigabytes of scientific data about the Martian atmosphere, which will be shared with 200 scientific and academic institutions globally for free.
Sheikh Mohammed said the mission was historic – not just for the UAE - but also for the region, and would inspire other Arabs to “reach for the skies,” state news agency WAM reported.
“The biggest challenge for the Probe is to enter Mars orbit… though the failure rate is 50 percent I believe success is within our grasp…,” he said.
“This is the farthest point in the universe to be reached by Arabs throughout their history... Our goal is to give hope to all Arabs that we are capable of competing with the rest of the world.”
Despite the risks, the team believes they are ready for all outcomes, Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum said.
“The team is ready for all scenarios as the Hope Probe gears up for its Mars Orbit Insertion and the commencement of its scientific mission,” he said.