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UAE Hope Probe achieves historic milestone, successfully enters Mars orbit

UAE Hope Probe achieves historic milestone, successfully enters Mars orbit

The UAE becomes the fifth country to reach the red planet

The UAE Hope Probe has achieved its most critical task – the Mars orbit insertion – making the UAE the fifth country in the world to reach the red planet.

As the 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, the Hope probe’s entry into Mars’ orbit is a watershed moment in the country’s technological and scientific exploits.

The unmanned spacecraft – whose 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’ – slowed down significantly to be captured by Martian gravity, reducing its cruising speed from 121,000 kph to about 18,000 kph.

The Hope Probe will now transition from the capture orbit to an acceptable science orbit in preparation for its primary science operations. The capture orbit is an elliptical orbit lasting 40 hours, and it will take the probe as close as 1,000 km above Mars’ surface and as far as 49,380 km away from it.

The probe will explore the climatic dynamics of the red planet on daily and seasonal timescales for a full Martian year (687 earth days).

Prior to the spacecraft’s arrival to Mars, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, sent out a message saying the region had already “made history”.

Read: Sheikh Mohammed on Mars mission: ‘We’ve already made history’

Key Facts:

  • On July 16, 2014, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, announced that the nation would be going to Mars, issuing a decree to establish the UAE Space Agency
  • After a total of 204 days and more than 480 million km later, the probe was confirmed to be in the capture orbit of the red planet
  • The probe will gather and send back 1,000GB of new Mars data to the Science Data Centre in the UAE via different ground stations worldwide. Data will be analysed and shared for free with the international Mars Science community.
  • Understanding the geographical and climate changes of Mars and the other planets will help us find solutions for challenges facing mankind on earth
  • 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

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