It’s getting crowded at Mars! There are currently 3 active missions to Mars and the first has arrived. The Hope Probe, Tianwen-1 and Mars 2020, all launched in July 2020 when the Earth and Mars were especially close to one another, to reduce travel time to the Red Planet by about two months.
Emirates Mars Mission: Hope Probe
The Emirates Mars Mission: Hope Probe is the first Arab interplanetary mission launched by the UAE Space Agency. The Hope spacecraft entered an orbit around Mars at 15:57 GMT on Tuesday 09 February 2021 following a 7 month (204 days) journey from Earth.
EMM began its journey to Mars from the Tanegashima island in Japan on July 20, 2020 at 1:58 AM (UAE time). The mission had a 30-day launch window between July 14 and August 12, 2020. On the launch day, the Hope Probe lifted off on a Mitsubishi H-IIA rocket toward the east, on a trajectory that took it over the Pacific Ocean. During the first stage, the solid rocket boosters were expended, as the rocket accelerated away from the Earth. This was followed by jettisoning the fairing as it no longer needed to protect the Hope Probe from the Earth’s atmosphere. In the second stage, the rocket jettisoned and put the Hope Probe into the Earth’s orbit. It stayed in orbit until the exact alignment with Mars after which it was reignited to push it on its trajectory towards the Red Planet. Following this, with the right direction and velocity of 11km/s, the upper stage gently deployed the Hope Probe.
On arrival, the unmanned spacecraft will orbit Mars for up to 2 (earth) years and study the dynamics in the Martian atmosphere, on a global scale, with the following goals:
Goal 1 – To understand the climate dynamics of Mars and the planet’s global weather map by characterising its lower atmosphere.
Goal 2 – To explain how the weather on Mars affects the escape of hydrogen and oxygen from its atmosphere.
Goal 3 – To understand the structure and variability of hydrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere, and identify why Mars is losing those gases into space.
When the data has been verified it will be made available to the global space research community.
The UAE have bigger plans and aim to establish the first inhabitable human settlement on Mars by 2117.