The UAE’s Hope probe, the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission, blasted off to space at 1.58am on Monday, July 20.
The rapid progress made by the UAE in turning its space dreams into reality has bowled over the scientific world. Dr Garik Israelian, a leading astrophysicist, said that when he was in country around nine years ago, there were talks of a Mars mission – but he “never expected” it would happen so soon.
The UAE’s Hope probe, the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission, blasted off to space at 1.58am on Monday. It is now cruising its way on a seven-month journey towards the Red Planet.
“Roughly eight or nine years ago I was invited by the UAE to moderate and organise a panel discussion about space exploration at the Festival of Thinkers, where alongside top scientists and astronauts we talked about how one of the best ways to promote science, technology and education would be the creation of some sort of mission to Mars. I never expected to witness the successful launch of the UAE’s Hope Probe less than 10 years later,” Dr Israelian told Khaleej Times after the virtual announcement about Starmus taking place in September 2021 in Yerevan, Armenia.
Dr Israelian is the co-founder of Starmus, a global event of science communication and arts. The sixth edition of the festival will be dedicated to Mars and have the world’s leading experts discuss 50 years on the Red Planet.
“Emirates Mars Mission is a historic endeavour and will not only have a positive economic impact on the nation but will inspire a generation of young people around the world. The UAE is leading humanity to Mars and collaborating with the global space community to create a better future for us all.”
Dr Israelian, the astrophysicist at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, added: “We are delighted to launch the Mars-themed Starmus VI Festival in the same week as the launch of the Hope Probe from the Tanegashima launch pad in Japan.”
The festival from September 6 to 11 next year will be held under the patronage of the President of Armenia, Dr Armen Sarkissian. It is supported by renowned figures, like physicist Stephen Hawking, musician Brian May and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov.
Nobel Laureate scientists Edvard Moser and Michel Mayor, Apollo 16 Moonwalker Charlie Duke, co-inventor of CRISPR gene-editing technology Emmanuelle Charpentier and ‘the father of ipod’ and Nest founder Tony Fadell are among confirmed speakers.
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