Residents of UAE were put at ease after the case of “two moons” was solved Tuesday.
According to UAE based publication Khaleej Times, the country’s social media was taken by storm after pictures and videos of two moons started to appear on their timelines.
The publication reported that the objects were a replica of the two Martian moons created by the UAE government’s media office to celebrate the country’s Hope Probe.
The Khaleej Times reported that the Phobos and Deimos, the two moons that orbit Mars, were projected in the sky using new technology.
The government had used two giant 100-metre cranes and an advanced 40-metre screen to make the moons appear realistic.
The government wanted to show the UAE residents what the Hope Probe is capturing 500 million miles away in the galaxy.
The moons were a build-up to the Hope Probe’s insertion in the Martian orbit scheduled to occur today.
“The Mars Mission is one of the biggest challenges of the country’s history and one of the boldest initiatives of the UAE: Conquer space. So, to create awareness around this important fact, nothing better than bring the two moons of Mars to Earth,” Executive Director of Production and Digital Communication Sector at the UAE Government Media Office Khaled AlShehhi told Khaleej Times.
The moons, Deimos and Phobos, were discovered by the American astronomer Asaph Hall in 1877.
UAE launches mission ‘Hope’ to Mars
Last year in July, the UAE launched its first mission to Mars – becoming the first Arab nation to do so.
A live feed of the launch showed the rocket carrying the unmanned probe, known as “Al-Amal” in Arabic, lifting off from the Tanegashima Space Centre in southern Japan at 6:58am local time (2158 GMT).
Almost exactly one hour later, the feed showed people applauding in the Japanese control room as the probe successfully detached.
In Dubai, the launch was met with rapturous excitement, with the UAE Mars mission’s deputy project manager Sarah Al-Amiri declaring it “an indescribable feeling” to see the probe blasting off.
“This is the future of the UAE,” Amiri, who is also minister of state for advanced sciences, told Dubai TV from the launch site.
The Emirati project is one of three racing to Mars, including Tianwen-1 from China and Mars 2020 from the United States, taking advantage of a period when the Earth and Mars are nearest.
In October, Mars was comparatively short 38.6 million miles (62.07 million kilometres) from Earth, according to NASA.
“Hope” was expected to reach Mars’s orbit by February 2021, marking the 50th anniversary of the unification of the UAE, an alliance of seven emirates.
Martian year of orbit
Unlike the two other Mars ventures scheduled for this year, it will not land on the Red Planet, but instead orbit it for a whole Martian year, or 687 days.
While the objective of the Mars mission is to provide a comprehensive image of the weather dynamics in the Red Planet’s atmosphere, the probe is a foundation for a much bigger goal — building a human settlement on Mars within the next 100 years.
The UAE also wants the project to serve as a source of inspiration for Arab youth, in a region too often wracked by sectarian conflicts and economic crises.