Sunday 14 February 2021
The UAE's Hope (Amal) Probe arrived successfully on Mars in the first-ever Arab interplanetary mission that marks the Arab world’s entry in the global race of space exploration.
The UAE made history on Tuesday evening, 9 February 2021, to become the first Arab nation, and the fifth in the world, to reach Mars after the Hope Probe successfully entered the Red Planet’s orbit at 7:42pm UAE time.
The probe overcame the most critical part of its mission, the Mars Orbital Insertion (MOI) that involved reversing and firing its six Delta V thrusters to rapidly reduce its speed from 121,000 km/h to 18,000 km/h. During the 27-minute critical phase, contact with the probe was kept to a minimum.
At 8:08pm, the ground control station at Al Khawaneej received the first transmission from the Hope probe, signaling the success of the mission.
The space project is the outcome of institutional collaboration and a bold vision that aimed to serve mankind and the international science community.
The Hope Probe is the first of three exploration missions to arrive to the Red Planet in February. China and the US are leading ambitious projects to Mars, scheduled to arrive on 10 and 18 February, respectively. Hope's arrival at Mars, after traveling 493 million kilometers in a seven-month journey through space, marks the UAE’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Hope will now transition to the Science phase –- transmitting its first images of Mars back to Earth within a week.
The Emirates Mars Mission paves the way for the next 50 years of sustainable scientific development in the UAE.
Hope's entry into Mars orbit was celebrated by a dazzling laser show on the façade of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.
The probe's core mission will involve capturing more than 1,000 GB of new data over one Martian year (687 Earth days), which will be shared with 200 scientific and educational institutions around the world. The mission can be extended for another two years, to provide the first-ever complete picture of the Martian atmosphere.
Through closely studying the connection between current Martian weather and the climate of the Red Planet, scientists will gain deeper insights into the past and future of the Earth as well as the potential for human life on Mars and other planetary objects.
The probe’s entry to Mars’ orbit marks the end of four of the six stages of its space journey that started on 20 July 2020: launch, early operations, cruise, and the Mars Orbit Insertion.
On its first day on Mars, the team restored communication with the probe to ensure its systems remained intact after the dangerous phase it had just passed. For the next three to four weeks, daily contact will be scheduled between the probe and the team on Earth, enabling a quick turnaround of command sequence uploads and telemetry receipts. The probe will capture its first picture of Mars in the first week of its arrival.
The final phase of the probe’s journey is set to begin in April 2020. The probe will officially enter the Science phase to complete the first planet-wide, 24x7 picture of Mars’ atmospheric dynamics and weather daily, throughout all seasons for one full Martian year (687 earth days) until April 2023.