Did you know the United Arab Emirates, the UAE could be the next to join an elite group of nations to send an unmanned spacecraft to orbit Mars? It launches its first mission to the Red Planet this week, making it the first Arab country to achieve this feat, if successful!
This is huge because only a handful of elite space-faring countries such as the US and the European Union have launched a successful Mars mission!
What do we know about the Hope mission?
The mission is named Amal, meaning Hope, and is due to lift off from a remote Japanese island, Tanegashima. The spacecraft will travel for seven months and cover 493 million km (308 million miles) before it reaches Mars and begins its orbit.
Unlike NASA’s Curiosity Rover that is studying the Martian surface this mission plans to conduct research and collect new data about the planet’s thin atmosphere. In the past a lot of missions have focused on geology or the surface of Mars, but this mission will provide the most comprehensive picture of Mars’s weather.
The probe will orbit Mars for an entire Martian year, 687 days. A single orbit around Mars will take the probe 55 hours.
Has the UAE conducted other space missions?
The UAE has a decent record when it comes to space travel. It has sent satellites into the Earth’s orbit and one of its astronauts to the International Space Station. The first Arab astronaut to go into space was Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan Bin Salman Al-Saud, who flew on the US space shuttle in 1985.
Why is the HOPE mission a big step for the UAE?
If the mission is successful, Hope will arrive at Mars in the same year that the UAE celebrates 50 years since its founding as a nation in 1971.
The scientists working on the mission have reminded the world that, eight centuries ago, Arab inventors were at the helm of scientific discovery. The Emirati government also hopes that this mission will inspire young Arab scientists to study aerospace engineering engineering!
What is UAE’s next ambition space goal? It has vowed to build a human settlement on Mars by the year 2117.
Did you know there are two other robotic explorers scheduled to depart to Mars in the next month?
NASA is getting ready to launch the. The Chinese space agency is launching an orbiter, lander and rover to make China just the third country to land on Mars. Stay tune for more updates!