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Hope: UAE Mars Mission

  • 15 Jul 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Mars Mission or ‘Hope’ is scheduled for launch on 16th July, 2020.

  • It is one of three missions launching to Mars this month. The USA and China, both have surface rovers in the late stages of preparation.

Key Points

  • Hope Mission:
    • It is the first interplanetary mission for the Arab World.
    • The ‘Hope Orbiter’ will be lifted on an H-IIA rocket from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a machinery maker in Japan. It will be launched from Tanegashima Island in Japan.
      • The UAE does not have its own rocket industry.
    • Once launched, it is expected to arrive in orbit around Mars in February 2021 (the year of 50th anniversary of UAE’s founding).
    • It costs about USD 200 million and will carry three instruments: an infrared spectrometer, an ultraviolet spectrometer and a camera.
    • Expected Benefits:
      • It will give planetary scientists their first global view of Martian weather at all times of day.
      • Over its two-year mission, it will investigate how dust storms and other weather phenomena near the Martian surface speed or slow the loss of the planet’s atmosphere into space.
    • Significance: The country's primary aim is to inspire school children and spur its science and technology industries, which, in turn, will enable the Emirates to tackle critical issues like food, water, energy and a post-petroleum economy.
    • Previous UAE Space Missions:
      • Has built and launched three earth-observing satellites in collaboration with a South Korean manufacturer.
      • In 2019, the UAE bought a seat on a Russian Soyuz rocket and sent its first astronaut for an eight-day stay at the International Space Station.
  • Other Two Missions on Mars:
    • NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance, with instruments to search for chemical signs of past life, is scheduled to launch on 30th July, 2020.
    • China is also launching an ambitious mission to Mars, Tianwen-1.
  • Reasons Behind Timing of Mars Missions:
    • The timing is dictated by the opening of a one-month window in which Mars and Earth are in ideal alignment on the same side of the sun, which minimizes travel time and fuel use. Such a window opens only once every 26 months.
  • Existing Missions on Mars:
    • Only the USA has successfully put a spacecraft on Mars. Two NASA landers are operating on the Mars i.e. InSight and Curiosity.
    • Six spacecraft that are exploring Mars from orbit include three from the USA, two European and one from India (Mars Orbiter Mission).
  • Objective Behind Mars Exploration:
    • Despite being starkly different in many ways, the Red Planet has several Earth-like features– such as clouds, polar ice caps, volcanoes, and seasonal weather patterns.
    • For ages, scientists have wondered whether Mars can support life. In the past few years, Mars missions have been able to discover the possible presence of liquid water on the planet, either in the subsurface today or at some point in its past.
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