Ramadan Majlis: historic Mars mission 'fuelled by thirst for knowledge'

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and Sarah Al Amiri spoke of the importance of continued learning to overcome challenges

Two leading ministers highlighted the impact of lifelong education on the UAE's remarkable success – epitomised by a landmark journey to Mars.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, told how knowledge can fuel the nation's development during the final Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Ramadan Majlis of the year.

His support of learning was echoed by Sarah Al Amiri, the Minister of State for Advanced Technology and chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, who told how a desire for greater understanding was key to the historic mission to the Red Planet.

The UAE became the first Arab country to send a spacecraft into Mars' orbit earlier this year.

The success of the Hope probe was built on years of hard work by a burgeoning space sector.

The UAE is fully committed to defusing the Palestine-Israel conflict, says Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. Courtesy Hamad Al Kaabi / Ministry of Presidential Affairs  
The UAE is fully committed to defusing the Palestine-Israel conflict, says Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. Courtesy Hamad Al Kaabi / Ministry of Presidential Affairs  

“There is no doubt that education nowadays is not only an essential requirement to finding a job, or gaining a certain skill, but it is essential to having a vibrant life that contributes to boosting our motivations," said Sheikh Abdullah during the talk, entitled ‘Lifelong Learning: Unlocking our Future Potential.

"It increases our understanding of each other, our understanding of society, and also increases our passion for knowledge.”

Ms Al Amiri spoke of the huge strides taken by the Emirates Mars Mission in order to achieve its lofty goal.

“We started our work as a small team at the Emirates Mars Mission. A very small team, especially at the beginning of the project at the end of 2013," she said.

"It was just an idea; how could the UAE reach Mars? As the years went by, with the approach we followed to develop this outer space exploration mission, which was a unique approach compared to any previous space missions – whether to Mars or any other planet in our solar system –we faced considerable challenges.

“However, these challenges were an unrivalled opportunity to learn. No matter how hard it got, or how hard it was to find a solution for the challenges we faced, whether they were technical or administrative challenges in the project, we realised after we successfully overcame these challenges what we had learned from them.

"The lessons we had learnt from them, and the experience we had gained from them, were invaluable."

Professor John Sexton, President Emeritus of New York University Abu Dhabi, praised the UAE's commitment to education.

“Each student is a wonderful gift of creation and he or she has capacities that have to be brought out by education,” he said.

“I applaud the fact that the UAE and Abu Dhabi have focused on the importance of lifelong learning, because lifelong learning is really the actuation of the gift of life. And it creates for us a beautiful symphony, created by all the piano notes we come to play.”

UAE's history-making Mars mission

Updated: May 10, 2021 09:46 PM

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