Historic feat: One year since the UAE's Hope Probe reached Mars
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Historic feat: One year since the UAE’s Hope Probe reached Mars

Historic feat: One year since the UAE’s Hope Probe reached Mars

The UAE became the first Arab country to launch a space mission to Mars

On February 9, 2022, the UAE marked a full year since its Hope Probe reached Mars, becoming the world’s fifth country and the first in the Arab World to do so.

The UAE Hope Probe achieved its most critical task – the Mars orbit insertion – on February 9 last year, as a culmination of an ambitious attempt that saw over 200 Emirati engineers and researchers labour for six years to construct the Arab world’s first spacecraft.

Read: Live: UAE Mars Mission – Hope Probe enters Mars orbit successfully

The unmanned spacecraft’s metal piece bore the phrase ‘The power of hope shortens the distance between earth and sky’, the UAE emblem and the slogan ‘The impossible is possible’.

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The first Arab interplanetary space mission commenced early on July 20, 2020, when the Hope Probe successfully lifted off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre on a 493 million km journey to Mars.

Read: Video: UAE Hope Probe bound for Mars successfully launches from Japan

In August 2020, the Emirates Mars Mission confirmed the completion of the Mars Hope probe’s first trajectory correction manoeuvre (TCM1) as it continued on with its seven-month journey to the red planet.

Read more: UAE Hope Probe completes first course correction to reach Mars’ orbit

On February 9, the probe achieved its most critical task of entering the orbit around Mars successfully. The Mars Orbital Insertion process, lasted 27 ‘dark’ minutes as it was controlled automatically without any interference from the ground station.

Read: UAE Hope Probe achieves historic milestone, successfully enters Mars orbit

Days after the Hope Probe’s insertion, the first-ever image of the red planet captured by the spacecraft was shared. This marked the beginning of the stage of collecting 1,000 gigabytes of new data on Mars.

Read: Sheikh Mohammed tweets first picture of Mars taken by Hope Probe

Two more images taken in April 2021 were also shared by the UAE’s Hope Probe.

Read more: New images of Mars shared by UAE’s Hope probe

In June of last year, the Hope Probe captured the first ‘global images’ of Mars’ discrete aurora.

Read: UAE’s Hope probe sends first global images of Mars’ discrete aurora

However, the mission’s primary purpose – its two-year science data collection – formally commenced in May, 2021.

Read more: UAE Hope Probe transitions to Science Orbit

Two batches of data have already been made available on the Emirates Mars Mission website to all scientists, researchers and those interested in space science. The first tranche was published in October 2021, including images, information and observations collected from February 9-May 22, while the second batch was published in early January.

Data will continue to be published every three months, official news agency WAM reported.

The probe’s scientific mission will continue until May 2023, with the possibility of extending it for a further Martian year (approximately two Earth years).

To achieve the scientific goals of this space mission, the Hope Probe carried three instruments, capable of presenting a detailed picture of the Martian climate and the different layers of its atmosphere. These devices – the digital exploration camera, infrared spectrometer, and ultraviolet spectrometer, monitor everything pertinent to weather changes throughout the day, and between the seasons of the Martian year, in addition to studying the reasons for the waning of hydrogen and oxygen gases from the upper layers of the Martian atmosphere.

In addition, these devices investigate the relationship between Mars’ lower and upper atmospheric layers, observe atmospheric phenomena on the planet’s surface such as dust storms and temperature changes, as well as the diversity of climate patterns depending on Mars’ diverse terrain.

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