The first ever interplanetary mission to be launched by an Arab state is taking to space early tomorrow morning, July 20th, and you can watch it live at 1:58am UAE time, which will still be July 19th for much of the Arab world. The launch of the Emirati ‘Hope Probe’ has been in the works for the last six years, and is the culmination of a huge Emirati team comprised of 200 engineers, experts, and researchers. And at dawn tomorrow, their years of hard work will literally be taking to the sky.
The probe will be taking off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, and for the next seven months will travel a distance of 493.5 million kilometres to reach Mars’ orbit in February 2021—right on time for the UAE's Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of the union of the Emirates.
“The Hope Probe represents a turning point for the Arab and Islamic world in the space sector,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai when the probe was delivered to its launch site in Japan. “Reaching Mars is not only a scientific goal, it sends a message to our Arab youth that we are capable and that hope transcends the distance between earth and the skies.”
Once it reaches Mars, the Hope Probe will collect two years’ worth of data on the planet’s lower and upper atmosphere. It will also search for connections between current weather and the planet’s ancient climate, potentially providing insight into our own planet’s future, as well as the potential of life on Mars.
After two delays last week due to bad weather, the probe has finally been moved onto its launchpad, and takeoff will happen early tomorrow morning, at 1:58am UAE time.
You can watch the whole thing live here.