UAE Wants to Land on Mars by 2021, Launches Space Agency

Josh WolfordTechnology

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The United Arab Emirates says it's entering the space race.

The country's President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Vice President & ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced the formation of a new UAE space agency with the stated mission to send an unmanned probe to Mars by the year 2021.

"The new probe to Mars represents our Arab and Muslim world entering to the era of space exploration. We will prove that we are capable of delivering new scientific contributions to humanity. The UAE’s purpose is to build Emirati technical and intellectual capabilities in the fields of aerospace and space exploration and to enter the space industry and to make use of space technology in a way that enhances the country’s development plans," said Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The country aims to be a leader in aerospace exploration by the time it sends its ship to Mars, saying that space technology is important to countries' security and economy.

"Despite all the tensions and the conflicts across the Middle East, we have proved today how positive a contribution the Arab people can make to humanity through great achievements, given the right circumstances and ingredients. Our region is a region of civilization. Our destiny is, once again, to explore, to create, to build and to civilize. We chose the epic challenge of reaching Mars because epic challenges inspire us and motivate us. The moment we stop taking on such challenges is the moment we stop moving forward," added Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

According to TIME, the UAE has already invested roughly $5.4 billion (20 billion dirham) in space technologies like satellites.

Other countries in the region like Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran already have space programs in place, but the UAE's mission to send a probe to Mars is the most ambitious yet – by far.

Image via UAE Gov, YouTube

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf