The Emirates Mars Mission is a planned space exploration mission to Mars set to launch the Hope orbiter on 17 July 2020, after being delayed from the original 15th-July set date

The Mars Hope Probe is an autonomous spacecraft built by the UAE. It is due to launch in July 2020 and reach the Red Planet in February 2021. Scroll through to see more amazing unmanned space probes from around the world.

Engineers at work

The UAE’s Hope spacecraft was scheduled to blast off today (July 14) from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan aboard an H-IIA rocket before the weather interfered. The launch is now targeting Thursday (July 16) at 4:43 p.m. EDT (2043 GMT), according to a statement from the mission’s official Twitter feed.

You can watch the launch live courtesy of the UAE Space Agency and the Dubai One news channel directly via the two organizations YouTube channel here.

Find more information here:

New UAE Visa Rules: Visit visa-holders have one month to leave or change their status

All people in the UAE on Visit visa have exactly 1 month to leave the country or change status. Countdown from July 12-2020

As a Ugandan living in UAE, I appeal to all Ugandan citizens living or who were caught under lock down period in UAE, to read carefully these rules. UAE is one of the strictest countries in regards to their residencies.

According to this decision, people on visit visa have to change their status or leave the country. This means if you get a job make sure by the end of of 1 month from July 12, you have an employment visa stamped in your passport or obtained by your company. Another option is to renew your visa by the end of this grace period or if the worst comes to the worst to leave the country to avoid fines and bans.

Tourists in the UAE whose visit visas had expired after March 1 are given one month to leave the country or change their visa status to avoid fines, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) announced on Monday.

The one-month window started on July 12, Brig Khamis Al Kaabi, spokesperson of the ICA, said in a TV interview.

The advisory follows the recent UAE Cabinet decision that cancelled all previously issued resolutions related to the residency of expatriates and validity of visas, entry permits and ID cards. The automatic extension of expired visas and IDs until December this year was withdrawn

Brig Al Kaabi reiterated that residents and citizens within the country are given 90 days to renew their documents. Those outside the country will have a one-month window for renewal, with the grace period starting on the date of their arrival in the UAE.

Read more here: UAE New visa rules: UAE Visa Extension Until December-CANCELLED

UAE New visa rules: UAE Visa Extension Until December-CANCELLED

As of July 11, the free extension process has been cancelled

Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship

All Ugandans living in UAE, whether on Visit or residence visas should watch out for these new visa rules. These rules are general for everyone depending on the categories listed below. Please read through carefully as the system or policies get updated everyday.

From July 12, ICA will now start collecting the standard fees for visa and Emirates ID renewal. If you’re an Emirati, GCC citizen or UAE resident who’s been stuck outside the country (for less than six months), you will be given a one-month grace period to renew your visa or Emirates ID once you re-enter the UAE.

If you’re an Emirati, GCC citizen or UAE resident who’s been in the country since the outbreak began, you’ll have a three-month grace period to renew your documents. If you are outside the country for longer than six months, there will be a grace period based on when air travel resumed between the two countries. This timeframe will be determined by ICA.

Once these grace periods and deadlines pass, normal fees and fines will apply. If you’re in the country, a fine of Dhs25 applies for residency visa violations. When leaving the country, the fine is Dhs250 plus Dhs25 per day. Failure to renew your Emirates ID is Dhs20 per day. Fines won’t apply to the previous exemption period. In order to start the mammoth task of renewing the expired documents, the ICA will be performing renewals in batches. Check the ICA table below to find out when you’re application is due.

ICA visa renewals


The UAE’s Hope orbiter is the Arab world’s first interplanetary spacecraft — and has jump-started science in the country.

emirates mars mission

When the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced in 2014 that it would send a mission to Mars by the country’s 50th birthday in December 2021, it looked like a bet with astronomically tough odds. At the time, the nation had no space agency and no planetary scientists, and had only recently launched its first satellite. The rapidly assembled team of engineers, with an average age of 27, frequently heard the same jibe. “You guys are a bunch of kids. How are you going to reach Mars?” says Sarah Al Amiri, originally a computer engineer and the science lead for the project.


Six years on, Al Amiri beamed as she admired the country’s fully assembled Mars orbiter while it underwent tests in February. In the bright, clean room at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai, engineers were testing the car-sized orbiter before shipping it to the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. It will launch sometime during a three-week window starting on 15 July.

The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) will be the first interplanetary venture of any Arab nation, but it’s not just a technology demonstrator. Once it arrives at the red planet in February 2021, the orbiter, known as Hope (or Amal in Arabic), will produce the first global map of the Martian atmosphere. And, somewhat unusually for a space mission, the EMM will release its data to the international scientific community without an embargo.

Progressing from Earth-orbiting satellites to a deep-space mission in six years is “incredible”, says Brett Landin, an engineer at the University of Colorado Boulder, who leads the mission’s spacecraft team. The UAE hired the US engineer in an unusual partnership in which the Colorado team provided both mentoring and construction expertise. “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” says Landin.

But for Emiratis, space-science goals come second. Faced with economic and environmental challenges, the small, oil-rich Gulf state hopes the Mars project can accelerate its transformation into a knowledge economy — by encouraging research, degree programmes in basic sciences and inspiring the youth across the Arab states. Like major port and road ventures before it, the Mars mission is a mega-project designed to cause “a big shift in the mindset”, says Omran Sharaf, the mission’s project manager. The driver “is not space, it’s economic”, he says.

It is early days, but there are hints that it is working, says Al Amiri, who is also the country’s minister for advanced sciences. She has assembled a team of planetary scientists, who are ‘reprogrammed’ engineers, and the UAE’s top universities have in the past few years opened new degree courses in astronomy, physics and other basic sciences. Women make up 34% of the team (see ‘Women in Emirati science’) and 80% of the mission’s scientists. And the UAE government is now mulling involvement in future Moon missions and considering setting up the country’s first national grant-funding programme.

The UAE has a long way to go. Just a handful of its 100 or so higher-education institutions do research, and Al Amiri estimates that there are perhaps only a few hundred full-time academic researchers. Although the country has many engineers and technicians, “we’ve discovered we have a big shortage of scientists”, says Ahmad Belhoul, minister for higher education and chair of the UAE Space Agency, which was created alongside the Mars mission in 2014.

If they can pull off that economic transformation, it would be a much greater prize than getting data from Mars. Getting to Mars is important, says Al Amiri, but “how we get there is even more important”.

UFC 251 live Updates: Fight Island show in Abu Dhabi

Follow us to get all the UFC updates happening now from Abu Dhabi, at the Fight Island

Usman retains his welterweight title!

Kamaru Usman triumphed in the headline bout at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, defending his welterweight crown against long-time rival Jorge Masvidal.The Nigeria-born champion, originally slated to face Gilbert Burns, saw off the American via a unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) at Flash Forum to top the card at the Fight Island opener.

Contesting his first world title bout in his 49th official mixed martial arts fight, Masvidal had taken the fight on six days’ notice after Burns had tested positive for Covid-19.However, Usman used his superior conditioning and wrestling to stave off any real threat, and moved him to 12-0 in the UFC. Overall, his mixed martial arts record stands at 17-1

‘I came here with heart and bravery’

Leonardo Santos after his win over Roman Bogatov:“I feel great and blessed to have the chance to be a part of history. I love my life and enjoy fighting. I just want to say thank you to the UFC and Dana White for being brave and having a big organisation to fight for my family, country and team.”I expected a great fight. He’s a warrior and I knew it would be a hard fight. “I didn’t have enough time to do a perfect camp. So I just came here with my heart, bravery and experience.

That’s what I did in the Octagon. The most important thing is the win.”The fouls were weird because he did them three times. The last one, I saw him stand up and so I just blocked my ribs. Thanks to God to give me the strength to get to the end of the fight. “After my last fight I asked for someone in the top 10 or top five and no one answered me. So I don’t care. I’m healthy and happy. I’ll be ready.”

Yan is the new bantamweight champion!

Petr Yan is the new UFC bantamweight champion after dispatching Jose Aldo.
The Russian, who has taken the promotion by storm since joining two years ago, saw off the UFC great by a fifth-round TKO after rocking his opponent and then smothering him on the canvas. The victory moves Yan to 7-0 in the UFC.

The belt had become available following former champion Henry Cejudo’s shock decision to retire immediately after his successful defence in May against Dominic Cruz. Aldo, a former featherweight champion, was attempting to join the select band of athletes to have captured titles at two different weights.

Main event stars are in the building

Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Jorge Masvidal have arrived at Flash Forum ahead of their mouth watering showdown at UFC 251

Rose Namajunas

Redemption for Rose Namajunas, who avenges her defeat last year to Jessica Andrade with a split-decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 28-29). Namajunas, who relinquished her strawweight belt to the Brazilian last May, hasn’t fought since, and had to overcome personal tragedy earlier this year too. Her corner were laughing through second round: “I love that you’re having fun!” Namajunas smiled back. Yet Andrade came on strong in the third, leaving his opponent heavily bloodied and bruised. Brilliant fight; brilliant heart from both.

Ribas Wins

And the quickest finish of the night thus far goes to Amanda Ribas, who submits Paige VanZant in next-to-no time. Officially clocked at two mins and 21 secs, the fast-rising Brazilian locks in the arm bar and gets another big-name win. Most likely VanZant’s final UFC appearance, the American fights back tears as departs. So, too, Ribas, but she’s ecstatic. That infectious laugh can be heard all the way through her octagon-side interview. Future contender at flyweight

‘I want to take a title’

Jiri Prochazka after his win over Volkan Oezdemir:“I want to take a title and that’s all. That’s my mission. That’s my mission here, but not just the title, but my performance. I need to work on it, you watched that. Some mistakes. So let’s go.”

Prochazka with a stunning KO!

So that’s what all the hype’s about then. Jiri Prochazka marks his UFC debut with a crushing KO of Volkan Oezdemir, dropping his rival with a huge right. So 27 wins, 23 coming by KO. No wonder former champ Michael Bisping, commentating on the other side of the octagon, was audibly impressed. Entertaining (feigns injury, etc) and emphatic. Look out the light heavyweight division.

Debutant Jiri Prochazka ready for his long-awaited UFC bow, having won 23 of his 26 wins by KO. Popcorn bout ahoy.

Salikhov takes it on split decision

Tough one to call there as the two fighters exchanged a number of blows without really rocking one another. But the judges give it to Muslim Salikhov on a split decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28). Zaleski dos Santos isn’t happy, shaking head in disgust as he walks past us. In contrast, the “King of Kung Fu” Salikhov flexes his muscles on way out. No doubt an emotional time for the Dagestan native following the death last week of compatriot Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap

‘I loved fighting on Fight Island’

Marcin Tybura after his win over Maxim Grishin:
“I’m feeling great. Given the circumstances of the pandemic, then fighting here on Fight Island and winning—it’s amazing. “I worked lots of wrestling for this fight, because my original opponent was more of a wrestler. There was a change of opponent and I decided to wrestle him. We planned that I may not be successful at first, but I knew eventually I’d take him down. “I loved fighting on Fight Island. It’s amazing what the UFC’s doing. That’s why I’m so happy to be a part of it. “My last two fights were out of the top 15. I would like to start climbing the rankings. I’m thinking Aleksei Oleinik would be a good matchup for me right now.”

Amirkhani gets it done in the first

Makwan Amirkhani racks up another first-round victory with a submission against Dan Henry. The Finn takes out the Scot with a lovely anaconda choke that looked perfect in technique – which we’ve come to expect. First thing Amirkhani did upon winning was raise Henry’s legs to help get the circulation back. Dances off to Cyprus Hill. Night’s work: 3 mins, 15 secs.- John McAuley at Flash Forum

Santos claims the UD win

Well, fireworks, kind of. Almost a knockout, a superb second-round rally and plenty of low blows – the latter of which all felt by Leonardo Santos. The Brazilian spent more time prone on the canvas recovering, it felt like, before Roman Bogatov finally had two points deducted to eventually lose (29-26, 29-26, 29-26). It was Bogatov’s first pro MMA defeat, coming on his UFC debut. He’s now 10-1. The 40-year-old, who had his opponent scrambling in the second, sees off the young pretender

Tybura dominates on points

Early prelims come to a close as Maxim Grishin takes this heavyweight encounter against Marcin Tybura (30-27, 30-27, 30-26). The big Pole dominated his Russian rival for much of the contest, especially the third. There’s also a Fight Island bow for popular ref Herb Dean, who was spotted at the breakfast buffet earlier. Wonder if he had the 6am (Saturday) Covid-19 test like the rest of us


Zhalgas Zhumagulov makes his way out of Flash Forum after taking a couple of strong kicks below the belt during his defeat to Raulian Paiva. Looks like the the Kazakh fighter is still feeling it as he leaves the arena