On July 19, 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) became the first West Asian and Arab nation to embark on a first-ever interplanetary space mission to Mars (Red Planet) namely “Hope Probe mission” from Tanegashima Space Centre, off the coast of Kyushu, Japan atop a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA rocket. Also known as Al-Amal or Emirates Mars Mission, this $200 million mission will be the first to study both Martian climate viz. diurnal (daily) and seasonal cycles.
- Notably, the mission arrival, which is expected to reach Mars’s orbit by February 2021 (7 months from now), is designed to mark the 50th anniversary of the unification of the UAE, an alliance of seven emirates.
- In this regard, the spacecraft had launched during a time when Earth and Mars come closest together during their orbits around the Sun. This planetary alignment happens once every 26 months.
About Hope Mission
-The probe will travel 493 million kilometers into space to reach Mars orbit with a total mass, including fuel, of 1500 kg.
-It will orbit Mars for one full Martian year of 687 days or nearly two Earth and can be extended till 2025.
-Hope is equipped with three different instruments- an imager and two spectrometers. The first will provide detailed images of the planet’s surface while all three will gather data to track the location of ingredients of Mars’ atmosphere.
-The probe will study weather phenomena including famous dust storms, examine the interaction between the upper and lower layers of the Martian atmosphere and causes of surface corrosion, as well as study why Mars is losing its upper atmosphere. It will also explore connections between today’s Martian weather and the ancient climate of the Red Planet.
Point to be noted:
-This mission was announced by UAE’s President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2014.
-It was built by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, an Emirati space organization, as well as the University of Colorado Boulder, Arizona State University, and the University of California, Berkeley. They consulted the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG), a forum created by NASA to plan explorations of Mars.
Other Countries Mission scheduled to Mars in July 2020
-China’s Tianwen-1 mission is scheduled to blast off on July 23, 2020. The mission will include an orbiter, lander and rover and will aim to tackle questions about the Red Planet’s geology and environment.
-NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Mars 2020 mission to take off on July 30 by launching rover Perseverance. It is a massive six-wheeled, life-hunting rover carrying a tiny helicopter that will (if all goes well) become the first aircraft to fly on another planet.
About United Arab Emirates (UAE):
Capital– Abu Dhabi
Currency– UAE Dirham