UAE: Dh10,000 prize for winner of Explore Mars competition for students

Fifth cycle of the contest launches, first to use 'live' data from the Hope Probe's scientific instruments



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Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sun 31 Oct 2021, 12:13 PM

Last updated: Sun 31 Oct 2021, 12:30 PM

The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) team launched the fifth cycle of its Explore Mars Competition on Sunday.

The competition offers students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) an opportunity to explore Mars using scientific data from EMM's Science Data Centre for the first time.

"The competition gives students the chance to analyse the science data gathered by the Hope Probe, working individually or collaborating in teams of up to three people," said a statement from EMM.

To enter, students are required to produce an A1 format scientific poster – a commonly used presentation of scientific data used in international scientific meetings and events. The posters will be judged by a panel and evaluated based on their scientific content and insight, design and presentation, said the press release.

Three winners will be selected from the entries received, qualifying for prizes of Dh10,000, Dh7,000 and Dh5,000, respectively. Students have until Saturday, November 20 to register for the competition. For competition guidelines and registration, students should contact science@mbrsc.ae.

Omran Sharaf, project director of the Emirates Mars Mission at MBRSC, said, "This is the first time in the five years we have been holding the Explore Mars competition that we have been able to offer students the chance to analyse live data from our own instruments, so we are particularly excited to see what insights and discoveries they manage to pull together."

He added, "The EMM Science Data Centre is currently hosting data gathered from Hope's first mission phase, including ground-breaking observations of Mars' discrete aurora and our findings of unusually high concentrations of atmospheric oxygen and carbon monoxide."

Engineer Hessa Al Matrooshi, the Emirates Mars Mission science lead said, "Launching the fifth version of the Explore Mars competition highlights our ongoing commitment to inform, educate and inspire the next generation of talent. After sharing the first batch of data gathered by Hope Probe with the scientific community, we are excited to use this contest as an opportunity to get students excited about using the data to serve as a launchpad to inspire and encourage them to explore careers in space science."

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The Emirates Mars Mission is studying the relationship between the upper layer and lower regions of the Martian atmosphere, giving the international science community full access to a holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day, through different seasons.

The Hope Probe carries three state-of-the-art instruments:

EXI – The Emirates eXploration Imager is a digital camera that will capture high-resolution images of Mars along with measuring water ice and ozone in the lower atmosphere through the UV bands.

EMIRS – The Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer will measure the global distribution of dust, ice cloud, and water vapour in the Martian lower atmosphere.

EMUS – The Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer will measure oxygen and carbon monoxide in the thermosphere and the variability of hydrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere.

Data from these instruments is uploaded every three months to the EMM Science Data Centre and made publicly available to scientists, researchers and enthusiasts globally, without embargo.

The Mission's Hope Probe is following its planned 20,000 – 43,000 km elliptical science orbit, with an inclination to Mars of 25 degrees. This gives it a unique ability to complete one orbit of the planet every 55 hours and capture a full planetary data sample every nine days throughout its one Martian year (two Earth year) mission to map Mar's atmospheric dynamics.

The Hope Probe's historic journey to the Red Planet coincides with a year of celebrations to mark the UAE's Golden Jubilee.


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