The United Arab Emirates on Sunday has made history by launching its Hope Probe which is bound to Mars.
This probe, known in Arabic as Al-Amal for Hope, is the first interplanetary mission for UAE, let alone any Arab country. It is now on its course to Mars, which would arrive on February next year. It has also established two-way communication with the ground segment in UAE. The probe will orbit the red planet for 687 Earth days. That is equivalent to one year in Mars. It will collect data from Mars’ atmosphere.
It set off from Southern Japan in the Tanegashima Space Center. The unmanned probe was successful in separating from its parent vehicle which lifted off at 6:58 A.M. local time. The Hope Probe was previously set to launch last week, but has been postponed because of unpleasant weather.
We have lift-off. H2A, the rocket carrying the Hope Probe to space, has launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan.#HopeMarsMission pic.twitter.com/pRKZLOL7NT
— Hope Mars Mission (@HopeMarsMission) July 19, 2020
Why this summer?
The Hope Probe is just among three countries who are about to launch their own space crafts into Mars. Both the United States and China have plans of sending their own probes to Mars sometime later this month or on August, CNN reported. However, launch dates might still vary depending on weather conditions.
These countries are taking advantage of this incidence when Mars is nearest to Earth, an occurrence that happens only every two years. This makes the trip to Mars shorter. The US is sending Perseverance Rover through NASA, while China has Tianwen 1.
Understanding the weather of Mars could help provide insight on how the red planet has dried up from previously being water-filled.
Writing on Twitter, the official account of Hope Mars Mission expressed: “It’s an honor to be part of the global efforts to explore deep space.” NASA also congratulated this remarkable launch through social media from its perseverance rover Twitter account, which reads: “I wish you a successful journey and look forward to the sol when we are both exploring Mars.”
Furthermore, UAE scientists only managed to develop this project for only six years. Most Mars mission projects take about 10 years to develop.