The United Arab Emirates’ first mission to Mars entered the red planet’s orbit on Tuesday after a seven-month journey of 494 million kilometers, allowing it to start sending data about Martian atmosphere and climate.
The Mars program is part of the UAE’s efforts to develop its scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil. The UAE Space Agency, the fifth globally to reach the planet, even has a plan for a Mars settlement by 2117.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, where the ruler of Dubai and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi were present to receive the news, said, “Contact with Hope Probe has been established again. The Mars Orbit Insertion is now complete.”
This year marks 50 years since independence from Britain and the founding of the UAE federation, which groups seven emirates. Mars probes launched by China and NASA after the UAE’s lift-off in July are also set to reach the planet this month.