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.