UAE unveils space expedition plans to Mars by 2021
Ready for take off
Marking the first entry into space exploration by an Islamic country, a new UAE space agency will be created to coordinate the country's growing space technology sector and to supervise the region's latest mission.
The probe will take nine months to make the more than 60 million kilometre journey to the Red Planet and will mark the UAE out as one of only nine countries with space programmes to explore Mars.
UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said, "The UAE's purpose is to build Emirati technical and intellectual capabilities in the fields of aerospace and space exploration and to enter the space industry and to make use of space technology in a way that enhances the country's development plans."
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE's vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, said, "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."
"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," he added.