The United Arab Emirates announced the successful launch of its “Hope” mission to Mars on Sunday.

The “Al Amal” (“hope” in Arabic) unmanned probe took off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, and has made contact with ground crew in Dubai.

The probe, which is slated to reach Mars by February, is scheduled to stay in orbit for 687 days—one Martian year—to collect data about the planet and its atmosphere.

“This probe represents hope for millions of young Arabs looking for a better future,” tweeted UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Monday morning. “There is no future, no achievement, no life without hope.”

Sheikh Mohammed also tweeted that the probe “will travel 495 million km [307.5 million miles] to space with a cruise speed of 121,000 km/hr [75,186 mph] in the first-ever Arab mission to the Red Planet. The data gathered by the probe will add a new dimension to human knowledge. This is our latest contribution to the world.”

Omran Sharaf, the mission’s project manager at the Dubai-based Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, said last month that “this mission is not just about the UAE; it’s about the region; it’s about the Arab issue. The region is going through tough times and we do need good news and we need the youth in the region to really start looking inwards, building their own nations and putting differences aside to coexist with people with different faiths and backgrounds and work together.”

At the time, Israel’s Foreign Ministry posted a statement in Arabic on its “Israel in the Gulf” Twitter page, wishing the UAE the “best of luck on the launch of this scientific mission, and hope this step will contribute towards deeper cooperation between all countries in the region.”

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