Mars probe to ‘leave sci­en­tific stamp’ and not just take pic­tures

The National - News - - NEWS - HANEEN DAJANI Min­is­ter Sarah Al Amiri

The Min­is­ter of State for Ad­vanced Sci­ences, Sarah Al Amiri, de­scribed her ex­cite­ment at the prospect of the UAE land­ing a probe on Mars.

Ms Al Amiri is also the deputy project man­ager of the Emi­rates’ mis­sion to the Red Planet in 2021.

In an in­ter­view with BBC Ara­bic, the min­is­ter said she dreamt of be­com­ing an as­tro­naut as a young child.

She said she had al­ways wanted to view Earth from space, de­spite few of her child­hood friends un­der­stand­ing that am­bi­tion.

“It is nor­mal for peo­ple to won­der in what imag­i­nary world I live in when I say I want to work in space,” she said.

“My dream was to see Earth from space but you al­ways hear the word im­pos­si­ble – es­pe­cially if you are liv­ing in a coun­try that was, rel­a­tively, a new­born in the ’90s.”

Ms Al Amiri said she be­gan de­vel­op­ing a pas­sion for space and as­tron­omy from the age of nine.

She later grad­u­ated with a de­gree in en­gi­neer­ing be­fore go­ing on to work at the Mo­hammed bin Rashid Space Cen­tre in Dubai. To­day, she plays an im­por­tant role in the UAE’s ef­forts to land a 1,500 kilo­gram probe on Mars in 2021, co­in­cid­ing with the 50th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of the coun­try.

The Hope probe is ex­pected to col­lect more than 1,000 gi­ga­bytes of weather-re­lated data and pro­vide in­sights into global warm­ing on Earth.

“There was a clear di­rec­tive that we should leave a sci­en­tific stamp on Mars, not just send a space­craft to take a pic­ture and say ‘the UAE reached Mars’,” Ms Al Amiri said.

“In the next phase, we want to be de­vel­op­ers of [space] tech­nol­ogy in the UAE, and by the end of 2021 we will pro­vide sci­en­tific data for schol­ars around the world.”

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