In 2021 the 50th anniversary of the unification of the United Arab Emirates is celebrated and the government can have a special gift for the nation: the arrival of its first probe to Mars, scheduled to arrive in orbit around the planet in February 2021. Hope (al-Amal in Arab), as it was baptized, was successfully launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on board the Mitsubishi H-2A rocket. The first mission to Mars by the Arab government aims to give a boost to its scientific sector, this being considered the future of the UAE, as highlighted by Sarah Al Amiri, the UAE Minister of Science.
The probe will not land on the red planet, but will remain in its orbit for an entire Martian year, which corresponds to 687 days. The mission's objective is to obtain more information about the dynamics of the meteorological system of the red planet, anticipating the manned missions that are planned for the coming years. This mission has a budget of 200 million dollars.
The probe is equipped with ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers, as well as an optical and ultraviolet light sensitive camera. The goal is to place it in the zone of the equator of the orbit of the red planet to observe how conditions in the lower atmosphere change over the course of its year. As mentioned, the probe will cover all regions of Mars and capture the entire local time cycle, which allows information to be collected from all seasons of the red planet, says the minister.
Considering that this month corresponds to a closer approach from Mars to Earth, two more missions are still foreseen: The Chinese rover Tianwen-1 will also be sent to the planet next July 23. Finally, on July 30, the Perseverence rover will be launched as part of the Mars 2020 mission.