Studying Mars climate will help humans understand Earth better: UAE scientist
Dubai - Studying climate change on Mars will help develop future useable technology for the Earth, the young scientist explained.
Studying dust storms on Mars will help scientists analyse and understand how dust storms behave on the Earth, a scientist has said.
Responding to a question posed by Khaleej Times during a virtual talk recently, Noora Al Saeed, Mars scientist and a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder, explained: "Sure, the environment of the two planets are different. But Mars provides a more controlled environment to study dust storms since there are no large plants on its surface. So it's like taking dust storms here on the Earth and putting them in a more controlled environment that has less variables on Mars and seeing their effects."
Studying climate change on Mars will help develop future useable technology for the Earth, the young scientist explained. "The solar panels that they send on the missions to Mars to power the rovers ... Scientists want to figure out how to make sure that dust doesn't stick on the surface and reduce the power that you get from solar rays. This helps in developing new techniques that can clean the solar panels and that's then used for solar panels on the Earth."
The UAE's Hope probe will give the first holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day and different seasons. The global science community will get access to such data for the first time ever.
"As you unlock more and more details about this planet, people in the UAE especially are getting very excited about it. For example, the only snow detected on Mars is made of Carbon dioxide (CO2) and not water. This CO2 snow occurs only in the polar regions where it is very cold ... The Martian atmosphere is still an enigma in many different aspects."
The young scientist reiterated the importance of sharing information to build a knowledge-based economy that will benefit future generations. "Science is also about sharing your knowledge. It is extremely exciting when you have just discovered something new and for five or 10 minutes you are the only person who knows that information. But the next step is to take that and share it with the world and help progress the knowledge base of that community in that area and the knowledge base of the humanity as a whole."
Data collected from the UAE's Mars mission will be shared with over 200 research centres across the world.
Using Martian knowledge
In an earlier interaction with Khaleej Times, Abdulla Al Marar, head of space projects at the UAE Space Agency, had explained that the UAE's Mars oribiter aims to figure out what went wrong with Mars and prevent it from happening to the Earth.
"The Hope probe will study the correlation between the upper and lower atmosphere. The scientific mission is to study how the atmosphere faded away. Once upon a time, the Martian atmosphere was very similar to the Earth's," Al Marar said. "The mission also touches upon what we are experiencing as climate change on Planet Earth - the idea is to understand how that happened on Mars and ensure that doesn't happen on the Earth."
After foul weather delayed its launch twice, the Hope probe is scheduled to lift off at 1.58am (UAE time) on July 20.