DUBAI, The UAE has participated in the ninth International Conference on Mars and the 37th Meeting of the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group, MEPAG, held recently at the California Institute of Technology, Caltech, in Pasadena, California.

Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, Chair of the UAE Council of Scientists, and Deputy Project Manager of the Emirates Mars Mission headed the UAE delegation.

Held once every four years, the conference marks a perfect opportunity to examine the latest major scientific discoveriesmade by countries worldwide, and focuses on bringing togetherglobal researches in space exploration. It serves as a platform to review means of developing and leveraging scientific projects aiming to explore the red planet, and introduces technologies that will lead to space exploration and achieving scientific objectives in the coming years.

Speaking during a session at the conference, Al Amiri shed light on the Emirates Mars Mission, EMM, and stressed that the UAE is investing heavily in human capital, knowledge and the future. She added that the country's space exploration programmes are a key pillar to establish a scientific and technological renaissance in the UAE and the wider region.

"The Emirates Mars Mission marks a significant milestone in the journey of knowledge transfer about space science and technology. This critically important sector has great potentials and holds valuable opportunities to promote the development of scientific capabilities and knowledge creation, all of which sum up the UAE's long-term vision of building a diverse knowledge-based economy for the future," she noted.

"The Emirates Mars Mission embodies the UAE's aspirations to explore the Red Planet. The 'Hope Probe', led by a highly qualified team of talented and skilled young Emiratis, has become the largest of its kind homegrown project in the region to explore other planets. The mission reflects the vision of our leadership to achieve a paradigm shift through the difficult and complex space field to set an example and to achieve a leading stature that would serve the global scientific community," she added.

The UAE Minister of State for Advanced Sciences presented an overview of the latest developments pertaining to the UAE Emirates Mars Mission project, its objectives and the current studies conducted by the team. She indicated that the UAE has set forth a clear methodology to achieve its goals, and is keen to join the space exploration race while working onachieve sustainable growth in the space economy. Notably, attendees commended the Emirates Mars Mission project and its importance in filling important gaps in current human knowledge about the Red Planet and its atmosphere.

Al Amiri affirmed, "The UAE leadership gives top priority to promoting the space sector as the largest and the most ambitious of its kind in the region. The UAE strategy includes a wide array of ambitious projects and spaces missions, as well as scientific research projects, development of national research centers and space services."

The conference tackled several topics pertaining to space exploration, as well as the latest developments in research, technology and Mars missions, with extensive participation from leading scientists and space exploration experts, engineers and researchers. A group of researchers and scientists from the Emirates Mars Mission's as well as students from the Research Experience for Undergraduates, REU, took part for the first time in the conference and presented their scientific research on Mars.

At the 37th Meeting of the Mars Exploration Programme Analysis Group, MEPAG, the UAE Minister introduced scientists, engineers and high-ranked officers from space agencies around the world to the UAE's objectives and vision that culminated in the launch of the Emirates Mars Mission. She shared with the prestigious audience the latest developments related to the project, its launch date and the experiments the team will execute upon arriving to Mars.

MEPAG is responsible for providing scientific input needed to plan and prioritise Mars exploration activities. It also provides analysis and establishes the targets of the Red Planet's exploration projects for several institutions such as NASA and the National Academy of Sciences. MEPAG defines most Mars exploration missions under four main categories: explore the possibility of life on Mars, the history of Mars' climate and its changes over the past centuries; the origins and evolution of Mars as a geological system; as well as those mission that will help in preparing for human exploration.

Source: Emirates News Agency