At the beginning of 2021, it seems like we’re witnessing the ‘who else sends probes to Mars?’ club. NASA, the United Arab Emirates Space Agency, and the China National Space Administration have all sent probes to explore the Red Planet and bring back valuable data.
The Hope Probe is the one operated by the UAE, and the space agency is taking the mission very seriously. The probe reached the Red Planet after a seven months journey, and it released its first photo of the Red Planet on Sunday:
The transmission of the Hope Probe's first image of Mars is a defining moment in our history and marks the UAE joining advanced nations involved in space exploration. We hope this mission will lead to new discoveries about Mars which will benefit humanity. pic.twitter.com/TCM5yHTapH
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) February 14, 2021
The UAE aims to orbit Mars with its Hope probe for a full Martian year, meaning about two years on Earth. This huge shift is possible because a year technically means a full rotation around the Sun done by a planet. Since Mars is farther away from our host star than Earth, you can understand why a Martian year is longer than a year spent on our planet.
Launch date: July 19, 2020
The Hope spacecraft was developed by the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre at the University of Colorado Boulder, and there was also support from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Arizona State University (ASU). The spacecraft was assembled at the University of Colorado.
The Hope probe will be studying weather events from the Red Planet’s lower atmosphere, daily and seasonal weather cycles, and how weather changes across different regions of the planet. There are some drastic climate changes on Mars, and UAE’s probe aims to explore the reasons behind such a phenomenon.
As various space agencies hope to send humans to the Red Planet in the near future, humanity needs as much information as possible about Mars since there’s no telling how the astronauts’ bodies will react to such a journey.