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Mars Space

Arab Mars Probe Planned For 2020 190

SpankiMonki sends word that the United Arab Emirates has announced plans to launch a Mars mission in July, 2020. They want to send a probe (named "al-Amal",or "Hope") that will orbit the Red Planet for several years. It will analyze the Martian atmosphere, observing clouds and dust storms to help scientists figure out how water gradually escaped from Mars over a long time scale. [A]fter being inserted into an elliptical 55-hour orbit in the first quarter of 2021, Hope will carry out its nominal two-year science mission at altitudes ranging between 22,000 to 44,000 kilometers. From there, the mission will investigate how the lower and upper levels of the Martian atmosphere are connected. One goal is to create the first global picture of how the Martian atmosphere changes throughout the day and between seasons.
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Arab Mars Probe Planned For 2020

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17, 2015 @08:36AM (#49710189)

    It will be the first time the Arabs have used science in 800 years.

    • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @09:02AM (#49710269)

      They'll probably just pay someone else to do it for them with the oil money as usual.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17, 2015 @09:10AM (#49710317)

        Its being built in Colorado by CU

      • While in the long run it would be better for them to develop the capacity in their own country for these kinds of endeavors, this still does benefit humanity and the space industry as a whole and it's oil money far better spent than Saudi Arabia, which seems to dump a lot into financing extremism and human misery.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Or work on fixing their broken economic and political systems that result,in huge percentages of young men with no economic future and only one avenue for them to take out there anger and frustration surrounding that. Islamic extremism. If they had to go to work to pay the bills and support a family most wouldn't have time for that crap. You show me an area where young males have no economic future and I'll show you an area where a lot of bad things happen.

        • ...Saudi Arabia, which seems to dump a lot into financing extremism and human misery.

          Hey, at least they buy American [aljazeera.com]

      • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

        They'll probably just pay someone else to do it for them with the oil money as usual.

        And what they buy will be an empty bomb casing full of pinball machine parts.

        Seriously though, I don't see the level of cooperation required for this project persisting long enough to pull it off. But, the best of luck to them for trying.

        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          Seriously though, I don't see the level of cooperation required for this project persisting long enough to pull it off.

          Of course given history, there will be disruptions, but it'll work out in the end. They are easily startled - but they'll be back, and in greater numbers.

      • by ZiggyM ( 238243 )
        Hopefully they wont pay this guy: "Saudi Cleric Reveals The Sun Rotates arround the Earth" http://www.huffingtonpost.co.u... [huffingtonpost.co.uk]
    • UAE, Malaysia are actually a different world than other places you might have perception about (like Afganistan, Iran, Saudi, Pakistan etc.) They are pretty much open and have far better developed infrastructure, wide open for technology and business.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        All of the countries you mention have good things and bad things going for them. Just like you shouldn't take Slashdot comments about how the US has third world infrastructure too seriously... except when it kind of does. The Saudi's can be repressive, but they also have a very impressive research university. Iran has a crazy government, but who doesn't these days? The French will complain about the Americans being crazy, while their president has an approval rating down around 20%...! And the people a

        • The Americans aren't hanging homosexuals by the neck with nylon rope from cranes in public though. Nor are they doing judicial amputations and blindings.

      • You have a funny definition of "open".

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:03AM (#49710531) Homepage Journal

      Pop quiz: what is the top Arab engineering school? Alright too hard. Name *one* Arab research university.

      Now answer this question: does the fact that most people find these questions hard reflect on *Arab* ignorance, or their own?

      • by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:31AM (#49710681)

        I have no idea what the top German/Chinese/Russian/Israeli engineering schools are either, still there are many more Arabs driving German cars, than the other way around.

        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:41AM (#49711111) Homepage Journal

          Really? You've never heard of Beijing University? Or the University of Heidelberg? Does "Max Planck Institute", "Moscow State University", or "Tel-Aviv University" ring a bell? Well then why not "King Saud University" or "Cairo University"?

          As for the production of cars, that's not a measure of a country's intellectual attainment; it's a measure of a country's industrialization. Show me *any* region that has a resource extraction dominated economy that designs automobiles. I can name just *one* off the top of my head, and that's Iran.

          There's an automatic assumption people make that when others disagree with them it's because they're stupid or ignorant. You can see that in the recent debate over the Iranian nuclear deal. There's an implicit assumption that the Iranian government is a bunch of uneducated, provincial hicks. Now I think Ali Khamenei is a terrible person, but it's not because he's ignorant. He is, in fact, superbly educated by any reasonable standard. As are many leaders in the Iranian government and opposition. The Iranian foreign minster Dr. Zarif holds three advanced degrees from US universities.

          This kind of bigoted thinking is going to get us into trouble. Iran is not an Arab country, but it gets lumped in with Arab countries in American perception as an intellectually backward Muslim backwater. This is a dangerous attitude to take. Iran has substantial intellectual and technological resources to draw upon. Despite their names differing by only one letter, Iran is not Iraq. While Sadaam wasted his money on showy wonder-weapons like super-guns, the Iranians have built a fleet of advanced diesel subs that can operate in the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf. They have formidable industrial capability, including indigenous aerospace, automotive and electronic industries. While there is little doubt we would win in an invasion of Iran, it's far from clear it'd be the kind of cakewalk we had in the Iraq invasion.

          Americans need to write this down and paste it in their hats: just because someone doesn't think like you doesn't guarantee he's ignorant or stupid.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Don't forget the. Ansari xprize. Anousha ansari is iranian

          • by itzly ( 3699663 )

            Really? You've never heard of Beijing University? Or the University of Heidelberg? Does "Max Planck Institute", "Moscow State University", or "Tel-Aviv University" ring a bell?

            I've heard of those, but that's about it. I have no idea what they teach at those, and how good they are in relation to each other.

            As for the production of cars, that's not a measure of a country's intellectual attainment; it's a measure of a country's industrialization

            Which is a decent measure of the ability to build and launch rockets and space probes.

            The Iranian foreign minster Dr. Zarif holds three advanced degrees from US universities.

            How ironic.

            Iran is not an Arab country

            So why did you bring it up?

            • by hey! ( 33014 )

              Iran is not an Arab country

              So why did you bring it up?

              Because you brought up automobile design.

            • by Teun ( 17872 )

              Iran is not an Arab country

              So why did you bring it up?

              I can see a reason, 'Arab' is generally equated with 'Muslim' and Iran is (how silly can it get) by law a Muslim country.

              To come back On Topic, this is going to be a Muslim Mars mission which makes me wonder how they plan to overcome the associated extra fuel use and thus extra weight,
              I mean, this thing needs to turn it's head to Mecca five times a day!

          • While i think you are correct when your refute the stupid notion that Iranians would be primitive towelheads, i wouldn't call their industrial capabilities "formidable". Their only industrial achievement i can think of that had a strategical effect is making extra strong concrete that contributed to prevent aerial raids against their nuclear installations. This is no trivial material science feat indeed. That and retaining the know how to fly tomcats.

            But many of their industrial projects make no sense at al

            • by hey! ( 33014 )

              I take your point, but I'm addressing the attitude that because Muslim countries are different from us that must mean they're incapable of doing impressive things. That's just wishful thinking.

              Of course "formidable" is a relative term. Iran's industrial capability isn't formidable compared to Germany, but it sure is compared to Iraq. Their automotive industry builds over a million cars a year.

      • Google (US News link) says its King Saud University. Other Arab schools rank #1 in specific fields of engineering. Seemingly trick questions like yours are easy to answer these days without any previous knowledge of the subject.
        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          Sure, but you've heard of King Saud University, right?

    • It will be the first time the Arabs have used science in 800 years.

      Arabs and Moslems in general are in many ways a lot less hostile toward science than many Christians. The standard bearers of the most popular movement to ban the theory of evolution from schools are evangelical christians from the USA. You can point your finger at salafists and bandits like ISIS and the Taleban all day long but they are the exception not the rule. Iran for example is a pretty fundamentalist state that is opressive in many ways but Iranians are no anti-scientific luddites who make asses of

      • That in itself is a sign of weakness and laziness.

        They only seem to do technical disciplines in great numbers (and aren't particularly good at it; the shops here in London are FULL of "Asians" with worthless IT degrees). They will not study the humanities or anything which challenges their strident, deeply held prejudices. Their inability to throw off their ignorance is what's holding them back. Ironically, worthless technical degrees from crap universities doesn't help with this. "Thinking" entails much m

        • America gets the elite. Europe gets the rabble.

          Count yourselves lucky.

        • by dave420 ( 699308 )
          You condemn "their" "strident, deeply held prejudices" by vomiting your own strident, deeply held prejudices? Get a fucking grip - you are just as ignorant as the stereotypes you are railing against. You should try thinking for yourself - it will help you stop sounding like a backwards xenophobic redneck or an "I'm not racist but..." EDL/UKIPper.
    • Let's all hope that by the time this flies that the Abbasid Caliphate is on the way to being revived.

  • Fitting Viewpoint (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17, 2015 @08:39AM (#49710195)

    Observing atmospheric phenomena and the dynamics of water is a very fitting viewpoint for the UAE. As various countries gain capability, the impact of cultural differences might get even stronger in the choices of viewpoints to research questions.

  • returning to the stars. Quite poetic, for a country who worships the Alhajar Al-Aswad (The Black Stone). Saul, who became Paul, also was spooked into religion by a meteorite...Constantine's "vision" may well have also been burning, falling rocks. The UAE most likely has some pretty advanced tech for looking at water...launching a probe to Mars isn't the difficult part. That is getting the probe deployed and functioning properly once it's there lol.
    • Re:Metorite cult (Score:4, Interesting)

      by phayes ( 202222 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @09:05AM (#49710289) Homepage

      It's not a rover, it's an orbiter. The only thing that need to be deployed are the three solar panels & that will be in Earth orbit - the spectrometers & an imager do not need to be deployed.

      My question is how they will be communicating with it. Does the UAE have the capability to do so alone or will they be relying on NASA's DSN?

    • Saul, who became Paul, also was spooked into religion by a meteorite

      How do you figure?

      • Saul, who became Paul, also was spooked into religion by a meteorite

        How do you figure?

        He wrote something bad about Muslims so he had to write something bad about Christians also, because you know... it's Slashdot, so "all religions are the same"...

        Anyway, he probably is refering to Paul's (a.k.a. Saul) sudden blindness -for few days-, before he became a Christian, but the story is: while persecuting Christians, Jesus appeared to him making Paul blind, BUT also telling him "Saul, Saul, why you persecute me?"... and the great story continues, but if you are interested you should read it in th

        • I agree Saul/Paul wasn't "spooked into religion" by a meteorite. I just wanted to hear his reasons for thinking that's the case.

          Re: the road to Damascus, it's worth noting that Saul/Paul was already highly "religious" prior to that experience.
        • It's not "bad" about Muslims, it's a fact. There is a big rock that they all make a pilgrimage to, in Mecca, named Alhajar Al-Aswad. It could also be a piece of shock glass from an impact. And your not quoting me about "blinding", I didn't type that. Not sure why you think I said anything about "blinded by a meteorite"...maybe you should read my comment again? Here [bbc.co.uk] is some info on Constantine and the possibility of a meteorite fueling his conversion, or at least his conversion of everyone else since he d
      • Mostly because I read this page [newscientist.com] and a few others...and this satisfies Occam's Razor far more than a supernatural being.
        • Doesn't seem to explain the full biblical account. The voices he heard, for one, but also the claim that the "scales fell off his eyes" immediately after he was prayed for by Annanias. Of course you could argue those bits are fictional. The fact remains, though, that Saul was already "religious" prior to his experience on the road to Damascus.
  • Arab? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17, 2015 @08:58AM (#49710253)

    It's the UAE. The Emirates. Do you write about the "Caucasian Moon missions", or the Apollo program?

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      True, and here I have no mod points :(

    • Re:Arab? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @09:12AM (#49710329)

      Do you write about the "Caucasian Moon missions"

      Maybe, if they were launched from the United Caucasian States of America.

    • Re:Arab? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phayes ( 202222 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:08AM (#49710563) Homepage

      Hypersensitive much?

      UAE: United Arab Emirates
      USA: United States of America

      Calling it an Arab mission when the word Arab is in the name of the country that is financing it is neither more nor less precise or racist than calling the Apollo the American moon program -- which is often is.

      Is the UAE the only Arabic country? No, but then neither are the citizens of the USA the only Americans.

      • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 )

        Hypersensitive much?

        UAE: United Arab Emirates
        USA: United States of America

        Except that the word "Arab" does not refer to the UAE. The proper term is "Emirati," the word "Arab" means something else. The point the OP was making is that many people in the US are ignorant and seem to lump everything "Arab" together as if there were only one "Arab" country (or that there is no difference between Arab countries), and I think your ignorance helped prove his point.

        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          Really... So that middle word in UAE is some completely different word that is just spelled the same. Of course it's everybody else that is ignorant & you are here to teach everyone else that Arab doesn't mean Arab.

          As for your brilliant conclusion that I'm an ignorant American, eh bien non mais mes potes Moroccains, Tunisians et Algerians vont trouver cela hilarant.

      • No, but then neither are the citizens of the USA the only Americans.

        Actually, without a qualifier (i.e. "north", "south", "central"), citizens of the US are in fact the only "Americans". Since the name "America" is in the name of the country.

        The best demonstration of this would be on a hijacked plane. When the terrorists ask, "Who here is an American?", rest assured that no Central or South American is going to raise his hand.

        Saying USAians or US Americans makes you sound like Miss South Carolina. [wikipedia.org]

        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          Spent any significant time outside The US? I've been taken to task by people from other countries in the Americas for the USA's use of American to mean only US citizens. Travel some more and you'll see my point. You'll also use fewer US specific references like Miss SC.

          • I've spent significant time in Europe and Asia and "America" is universally understood to mean USA and "American" to mean people from the USA, even by people who can barely croak out an English sentence. They might understand "USA", but "U.S." or "United States"? Forget it.

            The only people who take issue with that usage of "America/American" (aside from internet pendants) are Spanish speakers who rather arrogantly insist that the English word "American" needs to match up with the Spanish word "Americano".
            • Seconded. If we want to talk aboot^H about Canadians, Mexicans or Brazilians we have words for them.

            • by phayes ( 202222 )

              Who is arrogant? The more numerous Spanish speakers in the rest of the Americas ? Or the USA for assuming that American refers uniquely to those in the US. Apparently you consider it pedantry to point out that that people holding your opinion are in the minority.

          • Trying to induce ambiguity into American - where none actually exists (see the hijacked airplane example) - is obfuscation for no apparent benefit. Forcing Americans to use more syllables to describe themselves is increasing the number of syllables - lowering signal to noise - for no benefit.

            If an American wishes to describe himself based on continent, he would say he's a North American. A South American or Central American would do the same. Here's the USGS list of continents. [usgs.gov]

            If they wish to describe the

            • by phayes ( 202222 )

              You gotta just love people ignorant enough to think that knowledge of their culture means that they can generalise to other cultures. It's really comical.

              Here's an example: How many continents are there? Seven right? Same thing in Spanish, right? Uhhh no. Google "cuántos continentes hay en el mundo" & you'll discover that Spanish speaking cultures generally only count five with no antarctica & Americas being one.

              Your assumption that a Spanish speaking "Central" American or "South" American woul

        • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

          So by your definition that is no such thing as a European. Or Asian. and only one or two countries of Africans.

    • by Why2K ( 29813 )
      Well, their own web site calls it the "First ever Arab mission to another planet"

      http://www.emiratesmarsmission... [emiratesmarsmission.ae]
  • They'll probably contract with one of the major US/European contractors & put their flag on the rocket. Though I don't see any problem with that--they have the money, might as well do something useful with it besides build up big piles of sand in the gulf.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      On what do you base this "probability"?

      • The fact that they have zero know-how, essentially.

        In fact, they have essentially zero know-how in all fields. They're comfortable living off oil and slavery-backed glamour.

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          And how do you know they have "zero know how"? Know how isn't a property of nations, it belongs to individuals who can be hired for a reasonable price.

          If you mean "zero indigenous know how" that's something we can't take for granted either. The UAE is small (9 million -- just a bit larger than Switzerland), but it is very rich and no doubt has its share of talented individuals. What's more if they reached out to other Arab countries (as well as hiring a few key non-Arab personnel -- like we had Germans i

          • Fact: they have no preexisting projects.

            Therefore, any know-how they acquire has to either be developed or "purchased" (traded for, if you will)elsewhere.
            Since the timeframe excludes the first option, the second one is the obvious one.

      • Let's just say "Past Observation"--Note that I'm not saying it's wrong. And in their position (small, wealthy country), I would think that would be the best leverage of their resources.
  • Progress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Livius ( 318358 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @09:09AM (#49710309)

    You know, if an Arab state is moving from Mediaeval barbarism to Enlightenment, maybe it would be a good time to say something positive.

    • They're gonna stone it from orbit? It's the only way to be sure.
      • by gsslay ( 807818 )

        Yeah, because they execute people by stoning! Funny!

        Executions in 2014 in USA - 35
        Executions in 2014 in UAE - 1 (firing squad, murder conviction)

        Executions per 100 million in USA - 11.799
        Executions per 100 million in UAE - 4.266

    • Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be a Mars-shattering kaboom.

    • I would like to share in this sort of optimism, but the simple fact is modern rocketry developed out of a desire for long range ballistic missiles and most of the other countries that have major space programs tend to be nuclear powers. I don't know offhand how difficult it would be for UAE to get their hands on enriched uranium, (or how difficult it would be for them to sell some large ballistic missiles to, say, Pakistan at some point down the road), but I would tentatively suggest that these details are
  • Interesting. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @09:12AM (#49710327)
    Five years to get from no rockets to an interplanetary orbiting probe. The video they produced clearly shows the launch from somewhere near UAE, so they're not just going to hire an existing launch-proven company/state to give their satellite a ride. Ambitious. Highly collaborative with the existing science community. Aces. There's a woman as Co-I on the project - well done. They're not going to try and land, good idea. And the not-landing part will fill in some pretty significant gaps in mars atmospheric science. The only true unknowns are how many freshman US legislators will become outraged and demand a congressional hearing.
    • The only true unknowns are how many freshman US legislators will become outraged and demand a congressional hearing.

      Hopefully enough to get these hearings to focus on something big like building a Long Term Space Habitat stationed at a lagrange point rather than sticking to what we know.

      • by itzly ( 3699663 )

        building a Long Term Space Habitat stationed at a lagrange point

        Or on earth, which is just as useful, but a lot cheaper.

  • We already have our flag there, go away. Besides, the people in the UAE couldn't make a bottle rocket if their lives depended on it. Other people will have to build it for them.
  • Here come the Fremen
  • If you click on the first "Mars" link in the article, it takes you to the Mars food company.

  • So another country wants to develop space capability, and this is what Slashdot has to say about it? A bunch of half-assed racist remarks? It's not just shameful, it's lame. Of all places, here we should be celebrating people choosing to take part in scientific progress, not getting involved in ethnic or regional pissing contests.
  • by koan ( 80826 )

    Another "because we have the cash" vanity project.

  • The UAE space agency has been created in 2014 and has invested more than 5 billions of dollars in various space industries.

  • Way to go, UAE! (Score:5, Informative)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:09AM (#49710569) Homepage Journal

    Seriously. Good for you.

    It sounds like you've got really interesting research goals for this mission, and I wish you great success.

  • ...that will be the first useful thing done by Arabs-as-a-collective ever since the end of the Middle Ages.
  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:51AM (#49711211)

    (NASA Chief Charlie) Bolden said President Barack Obama had charged him with three things upon becoming NASA administrator.

    "One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering," Bolden said.

    The Prez might get a Nobel Prize in Physics from this mission.

  • they are tired of us using all their oil?
  • > "It will... help scientists figure out how water gradually escaped from Mars over a long time scale."

    Early astronomers assumed that the Sun, stars, and planets revolved around the Earth [wikipedia.org] and devoted time and study to figuring out how, in what manner. They didn't succeed because the Earth isn't the center of the solar system [wikipedia.org].

    Now, some scientists are assuming that Mars had a bunch of water that gradually escaped over a long time scale, and they're proposing to devote time and study to figuring out
  • Science only? No military purposes?

  • What arabs lack in sceitific strength, they have in life experience. Mars is a dry desert, and nobody knows dry desert better than arabs. NASA has to travel far, and no NASA engineer has any experience with climate similar to Mars.
    Arabs just need to exit their door, and it is like being on Mars. Huge advantage over both USA as well as Europe, Russia and China.

    What is the most complex item you can buy in your local store manufactures in an arab country?

  • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

    Will it have one hump, or two?

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