Mars mission: Arab Nation holds its breath as UAE probe is set to create history today

Dubai - In the last few hours of the long journey, emotions are running high in different quarters.

By Nandini Sircar

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Published: Tue 9 Feb 2021, 1:10 AM

The whole of Arab region is waiting with bated breath as in less than 24 hours, the UAE’s ambitious Hope Probe will attempt the epic feat of insertion into the Martian orbit.

Watch our interactive coverage here.

There is just one hope and one prayer on all lips across the nation as iconic buildings and landmarks are turning scarlet ahead of the D-day on February 9.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, cautioned that the biggest challenge is to enter the orbit safely. He said 50 per cent of all missions that tried to enter the orbit of Mars have failed.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, inspected the latest preparations at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) on Monday, ahead of the last moments of the critical manoeuvre, called MOI.

As a mark of solidarity and hope, even private companies on the Sheikh Zayed Road are bathed in red, gearing up for the country’s milestone event.

Joining the list today, Expo crowned its Al Wasl Dome in red. Expo 2020 Dubai will use its cutting-edge projection and display technology to illuminate the dome. This will be one of the largest 360-degree projection surfaces in the world that will be lit by more than 250 laser projectors, reflecting Expo 2020’s shared sense of pride to be part of such an ambitious, innovative and progressive nation.

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The Emirates Mars Mission is a true testament of our nation’s ambitious and tenacious spirit and a moment of significant pride not only for the UAE, but for our entire region as the first interplanetary mission from the Arab World.

“Just as this historic moment serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration, so will Expo 2020 Dubai bring people, communities and nations together to celebrate human innovation, imagination and ingenuity, when the first World Expo to be hosted in the Mesa region welcomes the world in the UAE’s Golden Jubilee year.”

In the last few hours of the long journey, six years in the making, emotions are running high in different quarters.

Salah Yamout, COO of Arabian Automobiles Company said: “This is the first interplanetary mission by an Arab nation and it’s such a personal moment for us all, as we celebrate this phenomenal milestone. The drive that the country inspires is unmatched and as they lead by example, it’s only natural for us to lend our support. Our Infiniti Centre façade on Sheikh Zayed Road has turned red in solidarity as the last leg of the Hope probe journey takes centre-stage. At Arabian Automobiles, we want to thank this great nation for reminding us of the results of true ambition and inspiration.”

Earlier, many government buildings and the country’s iconic structures sported a red hue.

Major landmarks across the UAE like the Dubai Frame, the Museum of the Future, the Etisalat Building, the Abu Dhabi Municipality and the Ajman Municipality had all turned red in celebration.

Many official government handles also reflect the new profile picture, which is etched with the new milestone date and the slogan ‘Arabs to Mars’.

The Dubai Police General HQ and main buildings, including the Dubai Police Academy in Umm Suqeim, across Dubai have also recently turned red in celebration of the UAE’s Hope Probe arrival in the Martian orbit.

According to Brigadier Khalid Ali Shuhail, Acting Assistant to the Commander-in-chief for Community Happiness and Logistic Support: “The move is part of the UAE Media Office ‘The UAE Glows in Red’ drive, and in line with the directives of the force’s Commander-in-chief, Lieutenant-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri who has always directed the force to actively participate in the national occasions and celebrations.”

Nakheel Malls, the retail arm of master developer Nakheel, has launched a set of initiatives across Dragon Mart, Nakheel Mall, Ibn Battuta, The Pointe, Palm West Beach and Club Vista Mare to celebrate the UAE’s space mission.

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi’s premier leisure and entertainment hub has been lit up in red to commemorate the journey of the Hope probe, as the interplanetary vessel enters the orbit of the earth’s nearest planetary neighbour.

Meanwhile, the country is set to see a new space-themed fountain soon after the success of the upcoming mission.

A group of Emirati designers are in the process of finalising the location for this national landmark either in the emirate of Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

The first of its kind monument will be built as a cultural, artistic and national landmark to celebrate the UAE’s accomplishments in the space industry.

nandini@khaleejtimes.com

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