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