UAE Launches Momentous First Mission to Mars

The Hope Probe is projected to reach the red planet by 2021.

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The UAE has successfully launched its Hope Probe from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center, a historic Mars-bound mission for the Sovereign State. Lifting off from a Mitsubishi H-2A rocket, the launch marks UAE’s first-ever mission to Mars.

The $200 million USD mission is intended to kick-off the Arab nation’s science sector, with the goal of obtaining a detailed account of weather dynamics around the red planet for future plans of sending astronauts to touch ground. February 2021 is the projected time for the Hope Probe to enter Mars’ orbit, which will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s unification.

The probe won’t actually land on the planet but will circle around it for 687 days, a whole Martian year. Science lead and minister of advanced sciences Sarah Al Amiri stated, “This is the future of the UAE.” The probe is equipped with ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers as well as a camera that’s sensitive to ultraviolet light, measuring shifts within lower atmosphere conditions. Al Amiri added, “it covers all regions of Mars at all local times at Mars, and that’s a comprehensive understanding that fills in the gap of changes through time through different seasons of Mars throughout an entire year.” This mission is the first of three to launch this month, to be followed by China’s Tianwen-1 mission and the joint American-European Mars 2020 mission.

In case you missed it, check out the Neptune Space Balloon, offering trips to the edge of space.

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