World praises UAE on successful launch of Mars Hope probe

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A picture taken on July 19, 2020, shows a screen broadcasting the launch of the “Hope” Mars probe at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai. The probe is one of three racing to the Red Planet, with Chinese and US rockets also taking advantage of the Earth and Mars being unusually close: a mere hop of 55 million kilometers. (AFP)
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An H-2A rocket carrying the Hope Probe known as "Al-Amal" in Arabic, developed by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in the UAE to explore Mars, blasts off from Tanegashima Space Centre in southwestern Japan. (AFP/Mitsubishi Heavy Industries)
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Updated 21 July 2020

World praises UAE on successful launch of Mars Hope probe

  • Emirates Mars Mission ‘constitutes a national and Arab achievement’
  • UAE will be the ninth country to explore the Red Planet

DUBAI: The UAE has received global praise for the “historic” launch of its Mars space probe.
The Hope probe blasted off early Monday from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, making the Emirates the first Arab and Islamic country to attempt planetary exploration.
President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed led the celebrations, saying the Emirates Mars Mission “constitutes a national and Arab achievement and an advanced Emirati push in the process of building global knowledge in space.”




The probe is one of three racing to the Red Planet, with Chinese and US rockets also taking advantage of the Earth and Mars being unusually close: a mere hop of 55 million kilometers. (AFP)

He said the Hope probe idea was developed within the UAE’s “national and research institutions and was designed and manufactured with the effective participation of a young national elite of bright minds — highly qualified and trained and sincere young Emiratis.”
The mission is a joint project between the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center and the UAE Space Agency, with the help of contributors and experts from leading universities.
The UAE will be the ninth country to explore the Red Planet, joining an exclusive club of nations.

Prior to the launch, the United Nations said the UAE’s mission is a “contribution to the entire world” and the Emirates is becoming “a main player in the space arena.”
“The UAE is always looking forward to the future; it is our wonderful partner,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).
The Arab League secretary-general said the launch is a “unique event and a milestone in UAE and Arab achievements as it embodies a message of hope, ambition and motivation for all the peoples of the region to overcome challenges.”
“This achievement is an Emirati-Arab contribution to shaping and making a promising future for humanity, and a message to future generations that nothing is impossible.” Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.
NASA congratulated the UAE on the successful launch, describing the mission as a “culmination of tremendous hard work and dedication.”
“This mission is aptly named since it’s a symbol of inspiration for the UAE, the region, and the world,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said.

“We are in awe of the speed and commitment the UAE, through both the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center and the UAE Space Agency, has demonstrated in developing its first interplanetary spacecraft.”
The UAE plans to share all its data with the world, not just academics and scientists and the research findings will be updated regularly and made publicly available.
GCC Secretary General Nayef Al-Hajjraf also praised the UAE’s scientific achievements, expressing his pleasure at witnessing such a “unique event.”
He said “the Hope Probe comes to fulfill the hopes of millions of future generations.”
The probe will travel almost 500 million kilometers and is set to reach the orbit of Mars in February 2021, which would coincide with the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s establishment.

The data from the mission will be publicly available.
The mission is also the first of three international missions to Mars this year, including NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover, China’s Tianwen-1, which will launch next month, and ExoMars, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.


Yemen’s UNESCO-listed Old Sanaa houses collapse in heavy rains

Updated 39 min 40 sec ago

Yemen’s UNESCO-listed Old Sanaa houses collapse in heavy rains

  • Distinctive brown and white mud brick houses of Sanaa’s historic neighborhoods have long been under threat from conflict and neglect
SANAA: Houses in Yemen’s UNESCO-listed Old City of Sanaa are collapsing under heavy rains, as months of floods and storms assail a country already reeling from war, food shortages and disease.
The distinctive brown and white mud brick houses of Sanaa’s historic neighborhoods, which date from before the 11th century, have long been under threat from conflict and neglect.
Muhammad Ali Al-Talhi’s house partially collapsed on Friday as heavy rain battered Sanaa, leaving the six women and six children of his family homeless.
“Everything we had is buried,” he said surrounded by ancient debris and mud, appealing for help to find shelter.
Aqeel Saleh Nassar, deputy head of the Historic Cities Preservation Authority, said citizens today do not maintain these old buildings as in the past, leading to cracks and weakness.
Around 5,000 of the towering buildings in the old city have leaky roofs and 107 have partially collapsed roofs, he said. The authority has been working with UNESCO and other funds to preserve some.
This year’s exceptionally heavy rains, which began mid-April and last into early September, have added to what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Five years of war have killed more than 100,000 people, and left 80 percent of the population reliant on aid and millions on the brink of famine.
On top of the new coronavirus, which is believed to be spreading largely undetected, heavy rains spread diseases like cholera, dengue fever and malaria.
The Iran-aligned Houthi authorities who have controlled Sanaa since ousting the internationally recognized Saudi-backed Yemeni government in late 2014, appealed this week to UNESCO to save the city’s heritage.
They said around 111 houses had partly or completely collapsed in recent weeks.
Sanaa resident Adel San’ani on Saturday told Reuters he saw five houses severely damaged this weekend.
“The families have no shelter. A local bank launched a campaign to distribute plastic sheeting to act as roofs,” he said.