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Nasa launches Perseverance; lauds UAE's Hope probe

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on July 31, 2020 | Last updated on July 31, 2020 at 02.25 am

(Agencies file)

Perseverance will gather data on the ground while Hope tells us what's happening in the atmosphere.

Hailing the UAE's efforts in successfully executing the Emirates Mars Mission, a top Nasa official expressed his joy and averred that the agency's 'Perseverance' will be joining Hope probe now.

The rover, which launched into orbit on Thursday at 3.50pm UAE time, is designed to study the geology and climate of Mars.

Closer home, the day also coincides with the launch of a new website called the "Arab Space Pioneers Programme" which will delve into all things space. Everything related to space internships opportunities and avenues for people in the region will be put together for interested individuals.

The Hope probe that was successfully launched into space on July 20 will send back ground-breaking new data about Martian atmosphere when it reaches Mars next February.

Connecting through a webinar from Nasa with the UAE Space Agency engineers and officials from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, just an hour ahead of the launch of Perseverance robot that will scour the planet, Michael Gold, acting associate administrator, Nasa's Office of International and Interagency Relations, said he felt inspired.

"I feel inspired and I am in awe. With Perseverance, this is the first time we will try to collect specimens, there will be more cameras on it than ever before. We have microphones and can literally hear Mars for the first time. I am excited there will be a first helicopter on Mars.

"But what makes it truly special is that I am on the line with you. For the first time our probe will travel with Hope, the UAE's Mars Mission. So, it's an extraordinary moment for me and more so because I am sharing it with you all and Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi."

Gold further commended UAE's efforts in attempting to explore the outer space, aiming to build a space industry in the region and advance regional and national capabilities in this sector.

He further explained how Perseverance and Hope missions with its subsequent discoveries could lay the groundwork for eventual human exploration of the Red Planet.

"We already see you through Hope making a significant contribution to the Artemis programme (a spaceflight programme that has the goal of landing 'the first woman and the next man' on Moon) as we look towards putting humans on Mars.

Perseverance will gather data on the ground while Hope tells us what's happening in the atmosphere. Combining that information will give us a holistic picture of Mars that we never had before in preparation for human space life."

He added: "The fact that the UAE could go from forming your space agency in just six short years to contributing so substantially to Artemis, through the Mars exploration launch is nothing short of extraordinary. I am excited about the future."
Space Diplomacy

These missions have a larger significance with relation to creating robust space-related opportunities for less advanced countries. They also act as a cohesive force to forge international relations.

Gold added: "I see the UAE living up to its nomenclature. You are truly uniting the region in support of space exploration. That's so important. What I've always loved about space is how it brings us together as humanity and we see the UAE doing that by creating a coalition of nations that can help support and enjoy the benefits of space exploration."

"So, it's terrific to see what UAE is doing to bring the whole region together. Hope is therefore bringing not only a few countries but the entire region to enjoy the benefits of space. To you and UAE, I can only say 'shukran'."

Nasa's message for the Arab youth

Throwing light on the UAE's space programme as an investment in future talent for the Arab world, Nasa officials contended on how it is inspirational for the region's youth and helps in creating a knowledge-based economy.

Dr Mohamed Abid, deputy chemical chief engineer for Mars 2020, Nasa, said: "My advice is, use your time wisely. You can have so many parties and do so many things. But at the same time, try to dedicate your time to side projects. Do robotics on the side. Getting good grades for students is important but that's not enough because you should also be involved in extracurricular activities like robotics. Additionally internships are really critical throughout the learning experience. It helps you mature and learn about the world. How things evolve. So, all of those become building blocks. Never take a roadblock as an obstacle, take it as a challenge instead."

nandini@khaleejtimes.com





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