UAE starts space research center to push Mars mission

Dubai will be home to a space and science research center that will oversee, among other things, the UAE’s planned exploration mission to Mars.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) was announced Sunday at a press conference by UAE Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It will develop research on space, building on satellite work conducted by the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science & Technology (EIAST).

EIAST has launched two satellites and, in partnership with Mitsubishi, is preparing to launch a third-- dubbed KhalifaSat-- in 2017.

The UAE government announced last July it would be the first Islamic country to enter space exploration, launching a probe to Mars by the year 2021.