Hope Mission To Mars

Meet some of the scientists behind UAE's Hope probe

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on July 20, 2020 | Last updated on July 20, 2020 at 06.19 am
Fatma Lootah,Space scientist, UAE mars mission
Fatma Lootah,Space scientist.

(Photo by Juidin Bernarrd/ Khaleej Times)

The team would be closely monitoring Hope until it reaches the Martian orbit.

The first space mission that young space scientist Fatma Lootah worked on was on Nayif1 - the UAE's first nanosatellite. Today, she is an instrument science engineer for the Emirates Mars Mission and her primary job would be to monitor data from the Hope probe's Ultraviolet Spectrometer.

Talking about her journey to becoming a space scientist, the Emirati said: "We used to drive past the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and I used to be very curious about the kind of work they did. I mean, what's more exciting than space? That's how I got into this field."

Lootah then pursued chemical engineering in college, and the next steps she took in her career brought her to where she is now - at the ground control station of Hope in Dubai.

She and the rest of the team would be closely monitoring Hope until it reaches the Martian orbit.

"Once the telemetry starts coming in, we have representatives of each sub system and each instrument, doing specific things like health checks and making sure everything is operating as it should. So the team is continuously monitoring all the subsystems and the instruments that are going to be on Hope Probe until it reaches Mars," she said.

Why Mars

Khalid Badri, the instrument science engineer for the EMM, shed light on why Mars has been of great interest for the global space sector.

space journey, Badri said, was particularly fuelled by the Emirates' culture of pushing the boundaries and reaching for the impossible.

"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said that nothing is impossible and, by building the first Arabic satellite (for Mars), we are enhancing the capability of the UAE. This technological advancement puts UAE on the map of space development and space sectors and we are one of the nine countries that will eventually reach Mars," he said.

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