An Emirati and an American author have written a children’s book inspired by the UAE’s mission to Mars in the hope it will encourage more young people to learn the Stem subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths.
Amal Goes to Mars! follows the story of a young girl named Amal, which means hope in Arabic, who goes on a mission to the Red Planet for the UAE.
The 32-page book was written by Shamma Al Qassim and Lisa La Bonte. It is written in Arabic and English.
“The idea for the book was to tell the story of UAE’s historic Mars mission through the perspective of a personified Hope probe – a young girl named Amal,” La Bonte said.
“I wanted children and parents across the UAE to consider the endless possibilities and to expand that spirit to the Arabic and English-speaking worlds, adding basic highlights at the end of the story so more would learn about the Hope mission and keep an eye out for what's next in terms of the UAE’s space programmes and initiatives.
“These types of books with roots in space and Stem empower youth in the Arab world and encourage kids to think big.”
A book about a bright future
Amal looks similar to Hope probe, with a "body" shaped like the spacecraft and arms that represent the solar panels.
The book was launched last month at the International Astronautical Congress in Dubai – the world’s largest space conference – and is being sold at the Sharjah International Book Fair and bookshops for Dh50 ($13.60) until November 13.
The book will also be available on Amazon UAE soon and on upliftingbooks.org.
Qassim, who was one of the first Emiratis to receive an internship at Nasa, wrote the Arabic parts for the book.
"As an Emirati I feel proud of the UAE's space achievements and as a mother I want my children to feel that pride too, and to understand that the future is bright,” she said.
Since entering the Martian orbit on February 9, the Hope probe has been capturing atmospheric data using three science instruments.
So far, 110 gigabytes of the 1,000gb of data the mission is expected to collect has been released to the public.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre has promised new sets of data every three months.