UAE successfully launches first Mars mission ‘Hope Probe’

Image from MHI Launch Services/ Gulf News
  • The UAE has launched its first mission to Mars on Sunday
  • It is the country’s most ambitious space project to date
  • The spacecraft will gather data about Mar’s atmosphere and will stay in orbit for 687 Earth days

The United Arab Emirates scientific community is rejoicing after the successful launch of the country’s first mission to the planet Mars on Sunday, July 19.

Dubbed ‘Hope Probe’ (Al Amal Probe), the mission took off from Tanegashima Space Center’s H-IIA rocket in Japan around 6:58 am. The probe is UAE’s most ambitious space project to date, after launching satellites in 2009 and 2013 and founding its space agency in 2014.

Image from MHI Launch Services/ Gulf News

The spacecraft was built through a partnership with a US team at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and in consultation with the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) to find a novel science objective for the probe’s mission.

The project was completed in six years by UAE scientists; just about half of what other Mars mission took to develop, with a budget of $200-M including the launching.

Image from MHI Launch Services/ Gulf News

The Hope Mars Mission official account tweeted a congratulatory message after the launch.

It says, “It’s an honor to be part of the global efforts to explore deep space. The Hope Probe is the culmination of every single step that humans have taken throughout history to explore the unknown depths of space.”

Hope Probe will spend 687 Earth days in Mars’ orbit which is equivalent to a full Martian year. It is expected to arrive at the Red Planet’s orbit in February 2021.

Image from MHI Launch Services/ Gulf News

The mission is tasked to gather data about Mar’s atmosphere, climate and weather system which will be used in studying further the planet’s characteristics.

“The data gathered by the probe will add a new dimension to the human knowledge. This is our latest contribution to the world,” tweeted Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and UAE Prime Minister.