Science & Tech

Emirates Mars Mission of Hope Probe Marks First Anniversary

| Updated : February 21, 2022, 12:35 pm
Updated : February 21, 2022, 12:35 pm

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Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Mars Mission, the first Arab interplanetary mission, is celebrating the first anniversary of its successful entry into Martian orbit and the gathering of a unique set of Mars observations by the Hope Probe. In Feb 2021, the Hope Probe successfully reached Mars’ orbit at 19:42, completing one of the most complex and intricate stages of its mission, after a 7-month journey of 493 million kilometres in space. A year later, the autonomous spacecraft has achieved historic milestones as part of its mandate to expand our understanding of Mars.

Congratulating the team and the country for the feat, H E Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “Tuesday 9 February 2021 has become an historic occasion for the Emirates, marking a unique achievement for our young nation. The Hope Probe is an inspiring success story for the youth of the Emirates and the Arab world in general and comes as the culmination of a multinational effort to drive the development of our space sector, contribute to our growing space sector and bring new insights into our human understanding of our nearest planetary neighbours – Mars.”

A release issued by the UAE space agency shared that since its arrival, Hope Probe has circled the Red Planet over 170 times, at a rate of one cycle every 55 hours. So far, the data captured by Hope Probe has been made available in two tranches, with a commitment to continue publishing and making new batches available every three months.

The first two batches of scientific data were published in October and January respectively. The first batch, included scientific data gathered during 9 February to 22 May and totaled 110 GB.

The Hope Probe has made a number of key new observations of Martian atmospheric phenomena, including the elusive discrete aurora on Mars’ nightside, remarkable concentrations of oxygen and carbon monoxide and never-before seen images of Martian dust storms as they billow across the planetary surface, the agency said.

On 15 March, 2021, the EXI camera captured multispectral images of this oblique view of the heavily cratered region known as Arabia Terra.  At the time, the Hope Probe was approximately 3500 km above the surface of Mars, with the image center being at about 25°N latitude, 48°E longitude.  North is toward the top-right. The image was taken in early-spring in Mars’ northern hemisphere.

The unprecedented scientific observations of Martian atmospheric phenomena made by the Hope Probe include capturing of the elusive discrete aurora on Mars’ night side, foggy craters, remarkable concentrations of oxygen and carbon monoxide and never-before seen images of Martian dust storms as they billow across the planetary surface.

The Hope Probe is scheduled to continue its scientific mission to explore Mars until the middle of 2023, with the possibility of extending it for an additional Martian year (two Earth years), the agency shared.

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