Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has announced preparations are under way to launch the first Arab probe to explore Mars, and is calling on members of the public to help name it.
On Twitter, Sheikh Mohammed said: "Brothers and sisters, we have started preparing for the launch of the first Arab and Islamic probe to explore planet Mars. The #mars_probe will mark the entry of the Arabs into [the] Space Age.
“This mission to Mars is a great challenge and a source of inspiration for us all in the Arab nation as we now compete in the race of civilisation and global knowledge #mars_probe.
“I ask of all who will receive my Tweet today to participate in choosing a distinctive Arabic name for the #mars_probe using the mentioned hashtag.
“The #mars_probe is an Arab Islamic project and we want the Arab youth to be part of it. We want to open the doors to hope and optimism and wish for their aspirations to reach constellations”.
According to Al Ittihad, the National's Arabic sister publication, names suggested by Twitter users include Zayed, Khalifa and Decisiveness, United Arab Emirates, Spirit of the Union and other astrological names mentioned in the Quran, such as Al Tariq, Al Miraaj, Al Najm Al Thaqeb (the piercing star) and Al Borooj.