Launch date for UAE’s Hope Mars orbiter set

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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The new colonial movement: Japan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have set the launch date for UAE’s Hope Mars orbiter, now scheduled for July 15 with a launch window that closes on August 13.

If all goes well it will enter Mars orbit in February 2021.

The probe is a UAE project in name only. Much of it was built in the U.S. by U.S. companies, working with UAE engineers and scientists. It is also being launched by Japan.

Regardless, the training and knowledge obtained by those UAE engineers and scientists is the real point of the mission. The UAE wants to diversify its economy away from oil, and it is trying to use the excitement of space exploration to do it. It hopes these engineers and scientists will use what they learned to come up with new projects that in the future will be built entirely in the UAE.


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  • LocalFluff

    I don’t fancy arabs much. Few who have been in contact with them seems to like them. But the UAE seems to have an arab Prince who is at the best an arab can be. They focus on what arabs have done the best through history: Trade! And this ambitious program for modernization is very promising. Yes, almost all of their space know how is now imported, but they might take over more and more of it themselves. Note that they are not developing launchers with potential military use, they are (financing) developing of a scientific Mars orbiter. It carries three instruments, I read, which are not like the Indians gambling to make some sensational politically prestigious discovery of methane, but that fill three different seemingly mundane gaps in the fundamental understanding of Mars’ atmosphere. It’s excellent! Hope is a great name.

  • LocalFluff

    I can add that arabs before islam managed the very perilous step of trade between Asia and Egypt through the Saudi desert, in a time when sailing around it was not a safe or easy thing to do either. Tin from Afghanistan was the “oil” of the bronze age Mediterranean economy. I suppose that the Egyptians got much of it via the arabs. The Sun forced arab traders to travel only at night. Navigating the stars very carefully to not miss the oases their lives depended on as they went. It is comparable to what the Polynesians did to travel between islands in the Pacific. They do have an astronomical legacy in their pre-islamic culture.

  • Dick Eagleson

    The Arabs have had a long time to try building some sort of post-tribalist, post-monarchist social order. With the exception of minor, and probably too-little-too-late, efforts in the minor Gulf monarchies they have failed even to attempt the former and have entirely eschewed the latter.

    When the oil runs out, and these nations cannot pay the army of imported technicians and medical professionals upon which their infrastructures depend, there will be mass death until the population of the Arabian peninsula returns to roughly what it was in the 19th century and the Arabs return to being merely minor and episodic nuisances to the civilized world as they were for centuries.

  • At a time when sailing around it [Arabia] was not a safe or easy thing to do

    The Romans sent hundreds of ships from Egypt down the Red Sea thence directly across the Arabian Sea to India and back every year.

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