UAE Mars: Animation shows seven month journey
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Following a seven month journey, the UAE’s Hope, also known as Al Amal, will arrive at Mars. The machine makes the UAE just the fifth governmental space agency probe to make it to the Red Planet, following missions from the US, the Soviet Union, India, and the European Space Agency. Hope will not land on Mars, but will instead orbit the planet for a Martian year, or 687 days.
When will Hope arrive at Mars?
At the time of writing, Hope is little more than 63,000 kilometres away from the Red Planet, according to a live tracker from the UAE Space Agency.
However, with the craft travelling at more than 70,000 kilometres per hour, its distance from Mars is changing rapidly.
The probe is also slowing down as it gears up for its descent, and will arrive at the orbit of Mars in a matter of hours.
Hope is expected to reach the orbit of the Red Planet 3.42pm GMT (7.42pm UAE time) today.
About 40 minutes before the machine is due to arrive at Mars, the UAE will have to perform its most daring feat to date.
This will involve blasting all of its thrusters for 27 minutes in order to reduce Hope’s speed from 121,000 kilometres per hour to 18,000 kilometres per hour.
The Emirates Mars Mission will be hosting a live stream of the event on its page which will begin at 3pm GMT.
The official Twitter account said: “Moments of anticipation as #HopeProbe prepares to enter Mars’ orbit.”
The main purpose of the machine is to provide a comprehensive and detailed image of the Red Planet’s weather dynamics.
Data will not reach Earth until September of this year, however.
Dr Dan Brown, an astronomy expert at Nottingham Trent University, said: “The mission will investigate the global weather, its links to the upper atmosphere and how this can explain the changing abundance of hydrogen and oxygen there.
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“This will help us understand how Mars is gradually losing its atmosphere and the role that dust plays in the Martian weather – also important information for those who want to settle on Mars one day.”
The UAE mission’s project manager Omran Sharaf has said he is proud to be in a position of leading UAE, and the Middle East, the Mars for the first time.
He said: “It is humbling to be in such auspicious and skilled company as we all embark on our missions.
“It was never a race for us. We approach space as a collaborative and inclusive effort.”
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