The United Arab Emirates launched its first-ever interplanetary Hope Probe mission to Mars from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre at 01:58 a.m. (local time) on Monday. “United Arab Emirates (UAE) launches its first mission to Mars, the ‘Hope Mars Mission’ from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center,” UAE Space Agency said on its Twitter page.
The spacecraft is expected to reach Mars orbit in about 200 days from now and then begin its mission to study the Red Planet’s atmosphere, WAM news agency reported.
Once it enters Mars’ orbit in the first quarter of 2021, the Hope probe will mark the UAE’s 50th anniversary.
The probe will travel 493 million kilometres into space in a journey that will take seven months, and will orbit the Red Planet for one full Martian year of 687 days to provide the first truly global picture of the Martian atmosphere.
The Hope probe will be the first to study the Martian climate throughout daily and seasonal cycles. It will observe the weather phenomena on Mars such as the massive famous dust storms that have been known to engulf the Red Planet, as compared to the short and localised dust storms on Earth.
It will also examine the interaction between the upper and lower layers of the Martian atmosphere and causes of the Red Planet’s surface corrosion, as well as study why Mars is losing its upper atmosphere.
Exploring connections between today’s Martian weather and the ancient climate of the Red Planet will give deeper insights into the past and future of Earth as well as the potential of life on Mars and other distant planets.
The Hope Mars Mission is considered as the biggest strategic and scientific national initiative announced by UAE’s President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2014. The UAE will be the first Arab nation to embark on a space mission to the Red Planet in a journey that contributes to the international science community as a service to human knowledge.
The interplanetary mission is the first by any West Asian, Arab or Muslim majority country.