Science & Technology

UAE’s Hope orbiter is on way to the Red Planet

The aim of the mission is to understand weather on Mars through all seasons and study how atmospheric oxygen and hydrogen escape into space

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 20 July 2020
Mission Hope — the United Arab Emirates first interplanetary mission — took off on a seven-month space exploration on July 20, 2020. Photo: MBRSC

Mission Hope — the United Arab Emirates first interplanetary mission — took off on a seven-month space exploration from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre in the wee hours of July 20, 2020. The mission was originally scheduled for July 14, but was postponed several times due to poor weather conditions.

The main aim of Mission Hope is to understand the weather on the Red Planet through all seasons and study how atmospheric oxygen and hydrogen escape into space.

An hour after the launch, which took place at around 3.30 am Indian Standard Time, the probe was able to successfully established radio communication with ground control on Earth. 

The Mars orbiter was developed through a partnership between Mohamed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and Arizona State University (ASU).

Astronomer Fred Watson told The Associated Press:

It was great to see everything going according to schedule today. It looks like things are all on track. It’s a huge step in terms of space exploration to have a nation like the UAE taking that giant leap to send a spacecraft to Mars. Being on route to a planet like Mars is an exceptional achievement.

Hope has three instruments — two spectrometres and one exploration imager (high-resolution camera). While one spectrometre will determine the temperature of the planet through the next year, the other will measure the oxygen and hydrogen levels at least 40,000 kilometres from the surface of Mars. The imager will provide information on the ozone levels on the Red Planet.

Hope orbiter will be there through one Martian year — equivalent to two years on Earth.

The UAE Mars mission is joined by the United States and China in the coming days. Japan has its own Martian moon mission planned in 2024. The Rosalind Franklin rover, a joint effort by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), has been postponed to 2022 due to the ongoing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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