Mars mission: even if we couldn't enter the orbit, we entered the history, says Sheikh Mohammed


On Tuesday night, the UAE and the Arab world will make history, even if the Hope probe fails to orbit Mars, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said.

As the spacecraft reaches the Red Planet, it faces its mission's most precarious point.

There is a 50 percent chance of success in the complicated maneuver required to carry the probe from high-speed space travel into Martian orbit.

Sheikh Mohammed, vice president and ruler of Dubai, said in a video message on Twitter, "The biggest challenge will be to enter the orbit of Mars."

"Fifty percent of human missions that tried before us could not enter orbit. But I say even if we do not enter orbit, we have entered history."

If everything goes to plan, the mission will be a milestone moment for the nation's 50th year, he said.
He wrote earlier on Twitter: "Tomorrow, we're going to start preparing for the next 50 years. Tomorrow, we're going to prove to the world that the Emirates and the Emiratis have nothing impossible."

"Tomorrow, we will take Arabs to the farthest point [they have ever been] in the universe."

Following a seven-month journey through space, the UAE-built spacecraft will reach Mars on Tuesday. There is a high risk of failure of the highly complicated maneuver required to push it over the final hurdle.

From 7.30 pm, the thrusters of Hope will start firing to slow it down and take it where gravity wants to be to catch it and keep it in orbit.

A communication delay would mean that at Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, mission control would not know whether for almost 30 minutes the move was a success.

If successful, the UAE will become the fifth space agency to accomplish the feat of the U.S., the former Soviet Union, the European Space Agency, and India after missions.