Looking up at the moon on a clear night can fill you with awe and wonder, but when residents of Dubai turned to the sky this week, some were filled with fear. That’s because they were greeted by not one moon, but two.
Confused by what they were seeing, many people filmed the strange sight and uploaded it to social media. While plenty of folks who watched the footage are certain it was faked, since so many different people had video of it, that seems unlikely, especially since the reactions of those in the clips are incredibly realistic, from drivers needing to pull over and get out to understand what they were seeing, to freaked out citizens asking, “Seriously, what the hell is that?”
Well while Earth doesn’t have two moons, Mars does, and this week, the Hope Probe, which the United Arab Emirates Space Agency launched last July, entered the red planet’s atmosphere. To mark the occasion, digital projections of Mars’ moons, Phobos and Deimos, were set up in Dubai, though clearly they didn’t really get the message out that they planned to do that.
The Executive Director of Production and Digital Communication at the UAE Government Media Office told the Khaleej Times, “The Mars Mission is one of the biggest challenges of the country’s history and one of the boldest initiatives of the UAE: Conquer space. So, to create awareness around this important fact, nothing better than bring the two moons of Mars to Earth.”
To create the illusion, two 330-foot high cranes held up a 130-foot screen to make it seem like Mars’ moons were in Earth’s sky.
Officials explained, “The idea was to create a way that allows everyone to see what Hope Probe is capturing 500 million miles away. [It was aimed at driving] awareness and create excitement around Hope Probe’s insertion on the Mars atmosphere.”
The Hope Probe won’t be landing on Mars, instead it will orbit the planet to closely examine the atmosphere.
You can learn more about it here.