First Arab Mars Mission – Story Part – 02

A young Aran nation, a red planet, a historic mission and a thousand dreams

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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UAE Mars Mission Hope Probe
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The latest delay in the launch of UAE’s pride “Hope Probe ” gives us an idea of the number of technicalities that have to be taken care of to ensure that it precisely blasts off from the earth and is successful in its mission.

This is our second article in a series of comprehensive reports where we explain to you each and every aspect of the UAE’s Mars Mission. You can read the earlier article in the series from the link below.

14 July 2019: First Arab Mars Mission – Story Part – 01

16 July 2019: First Arab Mars Mission – Story Part – 03

21 July 2019: First Arab Mars Mission – Story Part – 04

And no one can be too careful when it comes to them because 50% of all the world’s missions to this red planet have, sadly, failed.

Let us take a better look at the mission and what exactly happens.

Why are we studying Mars?

Mars is the second-smallest planet in the solar system and the fourth planet from the sun. Other than our Earth, Mars is the most explored planet in our solar system.

Through observing the link between the present Martian environment and the Red Planet ‘s ancient climate, scientists can get deeper insights into the Earth’s history and future as well as the potential for human settlement on Mars and other planetary artifacts.

Through these understandings, the scientists hope to discover how Mars lost some of its atmospheres in its planetary past over billions of years. Substantial geophysical evidence indicates that Mars was once a much warmer and more humid planet, with plenty of liquid water on its surface that could have been suitable for developing some sort of life.

But the mission has a much bigger goal – to build a human settlement on Mars within the next 100 years as UAE strongly believes that it is important for its sustainability and development.

How much did it cost to build?

The cost of the probe amounted to $200 million, which is considered among the lowest in the world compared to similar missions and projects thanks to the team of engineers, scientists and researchers behind the mission.

How long will the mission be?

Mars rotates on its axis, completing a rotation every 24.6 hours. Martian Days are called Sols (solar day short). Hope Probe will orbit Mars for an entire Martian year lasting 669.6 sols or equal to 687 Earth days or nearly two Earth years.

Hope Probe will have two years of operations in science beginning in May 2021, with the possibility of expanding it to 2025.

The long journey from Earth to Mars

To meet and orbit Mars, it’ll be a 495-million-kilometer trip. The voyage will take about 200 days at 121,000 km/h cruising speed.

In February of next year, Hope Probe is scheduled to reach the orbit of Mars coinciding with the golden jubilee celebrations of the UAE.

Why is it launching from Japan?

The US, Europe, Russia, India and Japan were considered for the launch of the Hope Probe. Various factors like the heritage, the capacity, cost, the rockets that can get it into orbit and help to start the cruise towards Mars were taken into account.

UAE’s Khalifasat lifts off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre
A Japanese H-IIA launch vehicle carrying the UAE’s Khalifasat lifts off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre on 29 October 2018. Photograph courtesy of Nozomi Endo/Kyodo News via AP.

The Emirates Mars Mission is a deep space mission and hence needs the whole capacity of the space of the rocket for itself; there’s no sharing space on the rocket, as is sometimes done with “ride-share” rockets into low Earth orbit. Eventually, the team narrowed their choice down to Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre (TNSC) aboard Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-IIA rocket.

Is UAE collaborating with NASA?

It is neither in collaboration with NASA nor in competition with them. UAE Hope Probe aims to collect data that has not been uncovered by any other agencies so far. Although UAE has communicated with NASA to ensure that there are no unnecessary crossovers with any other mission from across the globe.

A senior scientist from NASA Dr. Lori Glaze who is Planetary Science Division Director at NASA has shared her hope that “UAE’s ambitious project to build the first human settlement on Mars by 2117 will be possible if a methodical approach is adopted.”

GCC Business News’s comprehensive coverage on UAE’s historic Mars Mission will keep you updated on each and every aspect of the probe’s journey. Please come back for more every day to read articles in the series and stay updated on the mission’s progress. 

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