A day of Hope and pride for the UAE: Emiratis, expats excited to watch Mars probe launch
Dubai - Emiratis are brimming with pride, saying the Mars mission opens a new chapter in the UAE's glorious history.
Today was all about Hope - and pride, as the UAE comes down to the last few hours before its Mars probe blasts off to space. Citizens and residents were all thrilled to have the opportunity to watch history unfold on Sunday.
Several people told Khaleej Times that they will be staying up late tonight to witness the epic moment, the first-ever interplanetary mission for the Arab world. Hope is slated for lift-off at 1.58am on Monday, after being delayed twice because of adverse weather conditions at launch site on Tanegashima Island in Japan.
Emiratis are brimming with pride, saying the Mars mission opens a new chapter in the UAE's glorious history.
Mustafa Al Husseiny, an Emirati, said: "The mission starts with Hope and it will lead to breakthroughs in science, discoveries, inventions and solutions for existing and future challenges for all mankind.
"As citizens and residents we are proud to be part of this visionary and innovative era of the UAE's growth. No doubt, this will open a new chapter in the glorious history of the UAE, where new frontiers in space travel will be explored."
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Al Husseiny, general manager of Golden Loaf, said he is particularly looking forward to the launch countdown that will be done in Arabic. "It is a matter of honour that for the first time in history, Arabic numbers will be used for such a countdown."
Little space dreamers can hardly wait to watch the rocket soar into the sky. Mir Faraz, a 10-year-old who was born and raised in the UAE, is extremely proud of the country's achievements in space exploration. Faraz has avidly followed every space dream the UAE has turned into reality.
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"I will be staying up with my family to watch it live. I cannot believe that I will get to witness a historic event live. The UAE is a country where innovation is weaved into its DNA," he said.
"In the not-so-recent past, we've seen the state-of-the-art Khalifa satellite being launched successfully and Hazzaa AlMansoori becoming the first Emirati astronaut to reach the International Space Station on September 25, 2019. Now, less than a year later, we will see another dream come true - the launch of the Hope probe.
"Imagine, not even a year since Major AlMansoori's mind-blowing journey and, now, the UAE is set to explore Mars! This unparalleled achievement proves that in this progressive nation, today's dreams are tomorrow's achievements - that there are no limits to dreams and ambition and all goals are achievable."
Studying Mars climate will help humans understand Earth better: UAE scientist
His 13-year-old sister Mishal, who had the privilege of witnessing the launch of AlMansoori into space from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), said: "As I wait for the launch of Hope Probe, I have a sense of déjà vu. I had the privilege to be one of the lucky ones to have been present at MBRSC less than one year ago. I stood there enthralled, my eyes glued to the enormous screens. I've never seen so many people being happy at the same time and that made me understand what it feels like to see a dream being realised."
Mishal added that the launch was the hope people need in today's challenging times. "I strongly feel that this launch could not have come at a more appropriate time. The literal meaning of 'Amal' is 'Hope' in Arabic. With the whole world facing a pandemic and witnessing unprecedented losses, the launch of the Hope probe gives the message that this trying time would soon come to an end and that there is a future to look ahead to. I look forward to this event as a harbinger of positivity and optimism not just for the UAE but for the whole world."
Astronomy centres wait for 'new dawn'
Shaneer Nusrat Siddiqui, former project coordinator at Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre, said this mission is "undoubtedly a matter of pride for all residents of the UAE".
"With the way the UAE is heading towards space science, the country is set to become a key player in space industry in the coming years. Especially from the education, commercial and business point of view, it is a very new industry and, definitely, the UAE is going to have a major share in this industry."
Interest in the UAE's space industry has spiked this year, Siddiqui said. "For example, for astronomy summer camps, so many international companies are approaching the UAE market, which is a good sign. This Hope mission will be a push to the business with space-related technology and public-oriented space activities will boom."
Siddiqui said he is hoping that in the next few years, space tourism could be more accessible for the rest of the public.
Varsities look forward to the wealth of data
With the probe just a few hours away from launch, UAE varsities are looking forward to receiving the data from the payloads of the Hope Probe.
Sarath Raj, project director of the Amity University Dubai Satellite Ground Station and programme leader of Aerospace Engineering at Amity University Dubai, said: "Our aerospace students and faculty that actively work on the Amity Satellite Ground Station can play a large role in data evaluation of the Hope probe in 2021 - to analyse temperature profiles, properties of water, ice and dust in the Martian atmosphere and more. This is a great learning opportunity for our students and will inspire them to follow their space goals."
Roshan Rajesh Bhatkar, an aerospace engineering student at Amity University, said the mission would definitely encourage the youth to pursue careers in space research and development.
"I am looking forward to the success of the Hope mission, and hope to use their learnings and data to create a virtual Mars environment simulator on our University campus," Bhatkar said.
Echoing the sentiments, Ali Asgher, another aerospace engineering student, said: "I am extremely delighted by the initiatives taken by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. I am thrilled to watch this country succeed and reach new heights in the field of space. As part of Amity University Dubai's Amisat ground station development team, I am looking forward to contributing to the mission by tracking the Emirates' Hope probe live from our ground station."