Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, reviewed the final preparations of the Emirates Mars Mission team as the Hope probe is a few days away from arriving to Mars’ orbit in the first-ever Arab interplanetary mission.
The Hope probe is expected to arrive to reach the Red Planet’s orbit on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
The probe’s successful arrival to Mars will make the UAE the fifth nation in the world to reach the Red Planet after the US, Soviet Union, China, the European Space Agency, and India, and the third to make the feat from the first attempt.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum stressed that “the probe has a 50% chance of successfully entering Mars’ orbit, but we have achieved 90% of our goals behind this historic project.”
He added, “The UAE’s arrival to Mars was the dream of the late UAE founder His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Our investment in the human capital proved worthwhile as we see our youth capable of reaching the stars.”
The unmanned spacecraft will explore the climactic dynamics of the Red Planet in daily and seasonal timescales for a full Martian year (687 earth days), an endeavor that has never been pursued by any previous mission.
Once it reaches Mars’ orbit, the Hope probe will provide the first-ever complete picture of the Martian atmosphere, monitoring weather changes throughout the day during all seasons, which has not been done by any previous mission.
The mission will provide deeper insights into the climatic dynamics of the Red Planet through observing the weather phenomena on Mars such as the massive famous dust storms that have been known to engulf the Red Planet, as compared to the short and localized dust storms on earth.
It will focus on better understanding the link between weather changes in Mars’ lower atmosphere, with the loss of hydrogen and oxygen from the upper layers of the atmosphere. The probe, for the first time, will study the link between weather change and atmospheric loss, a process that may have caused the Red Planet’s surface corrosion and the loss of its upper atmosphere.
Exploring connections between today’s Martian weather and the ancient climate of the Red Planet will give deeper insights into the past and future of Earth and the potential of life on Mars and other distant planets.
The probe will gather and send back 1,000 GB of new Mars data to the Science Data Center in the UAE via different ground stations spread around the world. The data will be cataloged and analyzed by the Emirates Mars Mission science team and shared for free with the international Mars science community as a service to human knowledge.
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The insights and data we gain from understanding the Martian climate will add new dimensions to human knowledge about how atmospheres work, which will help scientists and researchers evaluate distant worlds for conditions that might support life.
Understanding the geographical and climate changes of Mars and the other planets will help us gain deeper insights to find solutions for key challenges facing mankind on earth.
The probe was 100% manufactured, enabling young Emirati scientists and engineers to take on a massive challenge in the new field of space. The young team was trained and prepared to take on projects in the space sector as an opportunity to build new national capabilities and build a sustainable infrastructure for space technologies in the country, in collaboration with global partners.
Wired, an American magazine specializing in science and technology has published a lengthy report about the Hope Probe, affirming that the probe will send valuable information about Mars and an integrated picture of the red planet’s atmosphere, which will deepen humanity’s understanding of the water sources on the planet and the possible ways to live on it.
“We’ve learned from past missions that the loss of the atmosphere over time over Martian history is important,” said David Brain, deputy principal investigator for MAVEN orbiter, or the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
“We need to do more to quantify that loss and to understand how the rest of the atmosphere influences that loss from a global perspective.”