ABU DHABI, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Humanitarian & Scientific Foundation, attended on Tuesday a session held at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi, as part of The National Forum.

Also present were Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State; Sarah bin Yousef Al Amiri,Minister of State and Abdul Hadi Al Sheikh,Chief Executive Officer at International Media Investments.

In her keynote speech at the forum, Sarah bin Yousef Al Amiri,Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, said the UAE's Mission to Mars will not only contribute to scientific knowledge, but also inspire the next generation.

The project is "a development for the UAE not only to settle Mars, not for the significance contribution that science but more importantly for what is going to happen here in the UAE, for the development of the UAE. It is such a monumental and challenging project. That is a large risk that the Government is willing to take on, but is also willing to bestow on a group of young, enthusiastic and experienced engineers and experts,"she said.

The Emirates Mars Mission will send an orbiting probe to Mars in 2020, for examining the planet's atmosphere and looking for evidence of water, sending back "data that science has never had before, that no mission has ever been able to capture," the minister said.

It is being built by a "brilliant" team all below the age of 35, and who had drawn from the experience of previous international Mars missions to cut the development time by half.

"This mission is on schedule, there are absolutely no delays so far and we actually see bits and pieces of the spacecraft coming together at a very fast speed.

"Hopefully we are going to have at the launch in Japan towards Mars to reach there at the beginning of 2021, with valuable scientific data being sent out to the public, without any restraints whatsoever, by our 50th anniversary in 2021.

"The future is about the youth and it is about engaging them," she added.

Parag Khanna, leading global strategist, world traveller, and best-selling author, noted that connectivity across Asia was once again booming and the UAE played a large role in that.

"There's a lot more that needs to be done for the region than what the UAE has already done for itself.

Source: Emirates News Agency