The UAE wants to go to Mars

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The competition heats up: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced today that it is creating a space agency to build and launch an unmanned mission to Mars by 2021.

The announcement included this statement by his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai:

Despite all the tensions and the conflicts across the Middle East, we have proved today how positive a contribution the Arab people can make to humanity through great achievements, given the right circumstances and ingredients. Our region is a region of civilisation. Our destiny is, once again, to explore, to create, to build and to civilise. We chose the epic challenge of reaching Mars because epic challenges inspire us and motivate us. The moment we stop taking on such challenges is the moment we stop moving forward.

I wish them luck, since building spaceships and exploring the heavens is a far better occupation that trying to kill Jews. I remain skeptical however. They will have to show real achievement before I will believe this is something more than a simple feel-good public relations stunt by the UAE’s leaders.



  • Edward

    The way I read that article, they expect to have another country build the satellite (“international partners”) from technology that this other country has (“knowledge transfer”). I saw nothing that suggests that this is well thought out, such as what science they expect to contribute — what experiments they plan to have on their satellite — to “prove that we are capable of delivering new scientific contributions to humanity.” I guess that Bolden failed to demonstrate their historic contributions to science after all ( ).

    They talk big: “We aim for the UAE to be among the top countries in the field of aerospace by 2021.” That would require quite a chunk of “knowledge transfer,” considering the state of their aerospace industry today.

  • Pzatchok

    Isn’t the UAE were Branson is building a new spaceport on their dime?

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