10 facts you must know about the UAE's mission to Mars

Japan, UAE historic mission to Mars, Mars, Al Amal

For the first time in history, the countdown for a space mission will also be done in Arabic.


Karen Ann Monsy

Published: Sun 19 Jul 2020, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 21 Jul 2020, 8:38 AM

After foul weather in Japan delayed its scheduled liftoff time twice, the UAE's historic mission to Mars is set to launch on July 20, 2020, at 1.58am UAE time.
The unmanned probe named 'Al Amal' - Arabic for Hope - is to take off after being delayed by bad weather, marking the next step in the United Arab Emirates' ambitious space programme. (Complete coverage of UAE's mission to Mars).
The probe aims to give mankind a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere. Data collected will be shared with over 200 research centres across the world.

Here is all you need to know about UAE's historic Hope Mars Mission:

1. The Emirates Mars Mission is the first-ever Arab interplanetary mission.

No other Arab country has attempted a mission to another planet before, making the UAE's initiative a truly historic moment in the history of space expeditions.
"Hope Probe is an accomplishment for every Arab, a source of pride for every Emirati, and a path-breaking achievement for our engineers," said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
For the first time in history, the countdown for a space mission will also be done in Arabic.
UAE's Hope Probe: Key data on Al Amal and its journey to Mars (KT24824718.PNG)
2. The aim of the mission is to study Martian atmosphere like never before.

The probe will provide the first truly global picture of the Martian atmosphere, by gathering scientific data that it will share freely with scientific and academic partners around the world.
The mission intends to study why Mars is losing its upper atmosphere and explore the connection between lower and upper layers of the atmosphere. It will also be the first probe to study climate throughout daily and seasonal cycles, observing weather phenomena such as dust storms, changes in temperature, and changes in the Martian atmosphere patterns depending on topography.
The mission will coordinate with the global Mars science community to answer key questions around the Red Planet that no other mission has addressed before.
3. The name 'Hope' was chosen after an open call to the Arab world.

In April 2015, Sheikh Mohammed invited the Arab world to name the probe that would be part of its much-anticipated mission.
The name 'Hope' or 'Al-Amal' was chosen from the thousands of suggestions received, as it describes the core objective of the mission - which is to send out "a message of optimism to millions of Arabs" around the globe and encourage them towards innovation and the "race for knowledge".

4. The probe is scheduled to take off on July 20, 2020 at 01:58am UAE time.
The latest schedule comes after the Mars launch was delayed three times following adverse weather conditions at the launch site.
The probe was initially scheduled to take off on July 15, 2020. A 48-hour delay due to weather conditions at the launch site resulted in a second tentative launch date on July 17.
Omran Sharaf, project director of the Emirates Mars Mission, has noted that such delays were expected, as weather conditions play a crucial role in determining launch dates.
5. The probe will launch from Tanegashima Island in Japan.
Located off the coast of mainland Japan, the island is home to Tanegashima Space Center, from where the probe will launch.
This is the same location from which KhalifaSat - the first Emirati-built satellite - was successfully launched into space in 2018.

6. The probe has a brief launch window of July 15 to August 13, during which it must take off.

The Earth and Mars are aligned at their closest point only once every two years - which provides the most optimal window for the launch.
If, for any reason, the launch window is missed, the mission would need to wait two years for the next available opportunity.
7. The Hope probe is scheduled to reach the Red Planet by early 2021
The voyage will see the probe travel for seven months and more than 490 million kilometres at a cruise speed of 121,000 km/hr in order to reach and orbit Mars.
It is scheduled to enter Martian orbit early next year, coinciding with the UAE's golden jubilee celebrations.
8. More than 150 Emirati engineers are working on the Emirates Mars Mission.

The mission includes 150 Emirati engineers as well as 200 engineers and scientists at partner institutes in the United States.
It is notable that, of the Emiratis who worked on the Hope probe, 34 per cent were women.

9. The UAE's probe was developed in almost half the time and cost of similar missions.

The Mars mission was first conceptualised in 2014 to encourage scientific innovation in the country, especially among its youngsters.
While most Mars missions take 10-12 years, the scientists at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center completed the project in six years - and at half the cost, according to a tweet posted by Sheikh Mohammed in April this year.
10. The historic mission is on schedule despite the global coronavirus outbreak.

The Hope probe had to be transferred from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center to Al Maktoum International Airport to Japan and then to the launch station. The operation took a total of 83 hours to complete.
UAE's Hope Probe: Key data on Al Amal and its journey to Mars (KT24825718.JPG)
In light of the challenges posted by Covid-19, the best global health procedures were followed in order to preserve the health and safety of the team, as well as the team accompanying the probe on its flight to Japan.
In addition, there was a third team that travelled early and underwent quarantine procedures in Japan to be able to receive the probe upon arrival, to oversee its transportation to the launch station into space.

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