The first Arab space mission to Mars will begin this summer.
The uncrewed space probe dubbed Al-Amal (Arabic for Hope) will blast off from Japan on a daring mission to unwind from above the Mars’ atmosphere’s weather dynamics. Here are all the details and some intriguing facts that you need to know.
The Hope space probe is developed to inspire the region’s youth and pave the way for scientific research, according to officials. The probe weighs 1,350 kilograms, almost the size of an SUV, and it should have started its mission from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center on July 14 at 20:51 GMT. Due to bad weather conditions, the mission was delayed until August 13. The UAE officials stated that the new launch date was set for 5:43 AM Japan time.
The Hope probe is expected to detach from the launch rocket approximately an hour after the lift-off. The space probe will need seven months to fly the 493 million kilometers to Mars, and it will be in time to mark the 50th anniversary of the emirates’ union in 2021.
The Hope space probe has three instruments that will offer a picture of the Mars’ atmosphere throughout the Martian year. The first instrument is an infrared spectrometer to calculate the lower atmosphere and examine the temperature structure.
The second is a high-resolution imager that will offer details about ozone levels. The third instrument is an ultraviolet spectrometer, set to evaluate oxygen and hydrogen levels from a length of 43,000 kilometers from the surface.
Huge Plans Ahead
The United Arab Emirates is comprised of seven emirates, including the capital Abu Dhabi and Dubai. So far, the UAE sent nine satellites in orbit with huge plans to send another batch in the following years.
For instance, in September, it launched the first Emirati into orbit, Hazza al-Mansouri, part of a three-member crew. They flew in a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan and returned after an eight-day mission. Hazza al-Mansouri is now the first Arab to visit the ISS.
UAE, however, has more ambitious plans. It intends to build a human settlement on Mars by 2117. But, until then, it wants to develop a white-domed “Science City” right in the deserts outside the famous Dubai, to simulate Mars’ conditions and create the technology needed to colonize the Red Planet.
Under a national space strategy started in 2019, the UAE has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Richard Branson’s space tourism company Virgin Galactic.