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The UAE Celebrates Historic Mars Mission With Special Passport Stamp for Visitors

The UAE Celebrates Historic Mars Mission With Special Passport Stamp for Visitors

Visitors to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will receive a special, limited-edition ‘martian ink’ passport stamp to commemorate the arrival of the the Hope spacecraft around Mars. Launched seven months ago, the spacecraft has travelled some 190 million km and, if all goes well, will enter the orbit of Mars on Tuesday.

The probe is the first mission to Mars by an Arab country but officials have stressed that there is only a 50 per cent chance of success. The spacecraft is travelling at 120,000km/h and must slow down to just 18,000km/h to achieve orbit insertion.

Scientists have no live control over the probe because it’s so far away from Earth that signals take over 11 minutes to get back to mission control.

“You’ve arrived in the Emirates. The Emirates is arriving at Mars on 09.02.2021,” the message on the special passport stamp reads. The ink for the stamps have been produced from the same volcanic basalt rocks that give Mars its distinct rusty colour.

Gemologists travelled to the Al Hajar Mountains and Sharjah’s Mleiha Desert to gather the rocks that were then crushed into a fine paste, dried in the sun, and mixed with adhesives to create three separate colors that represent the Red Planet.

“The Hope Probe is set to arrive to the Red Planet’s orbit – a major milestone for the UAE and for the Arab world that embodies hope, and conveys the ambition and motivation of the region’s people in overcoming the most pressing challenges to realise their dreams,” commented Khaled Al Shehhi from the Dubai Media Office which commissioned the special stamps.

“To commemorate this historic occasion and celebrate the mission’s incredible victory with the rest of the world, we have created a special stamp printed with ‘Martian Ink’ – made of basalt rocks found in the deserts of the UAE. This will be embossed on the passports of all the visitors to the UAE arriving at this time for a limited period,” he continued.

If successful, the probe will collect valuable data about Mars’ climate which will be shared with over 200 academic and scientific institutions around the world.

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