If you were a Martian astronomer, (weird, we know, stay with us…) you’d have noticed two strange new objects in the sky this week. Spacecrafts from China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) went into orbit around the red planet. The Chinese craft, Tianwen-1, left Earth last July, The New York Times reports. China plans to land the probe on Mars in May, to examine a crater, to see if there’s any ice there that could support a human mission. Meanwhile, the UAE craft, Hope, plans to study weather systems in Mars’ atmosphere. Next week, a US probe called Perseverance will land on Mars to study a dried-up lake, which scientists believe could contain fossils of ancient microbes.
All three countries are deservedly proud of these achievements, but the UAE is taking boasting to another level. Travelers to the Emirates can, for a limited time, get a passport stamp commemorating the Mars mission, stamped with “Martian ink”. (Again, stay with us…) The ink is actually from volcanic rocks found in the UAE’s deserts. It’s the same stuff that gives Mars its red colour. At the rate things are going, could Martian ink be a real thing one day?
This brief was originally published in The Wrap here.