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Wam file photo

UAE Hope Probe will orbit Mars for four years

Dubai - The orbiter will create a road for the UAE's future Mars exploration missions.

By Hesham Salah

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Published: Tue 9 Feb 2021, 1:18 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 Nov 2021, 2:33 PM

When the UAE’s Hope Probe successfully enters the Martian orbit tonight — it will start its mission of observing the red planet’s climate for 687 Earth days. But, according to an expert in the Mars mission team, the orbiter’s service life will last for four years.

Noora Al Rafi, deputy director for strategic planning of the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), explained on Tuesday — a few hours ahead of Hope’s entry into Mars’ orbit — that throughout this period, the spacecraft could unravel countless mysteries about the red planet’s weather and climate.

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“It will stay in service for up to four years to send a lot of data about the climate of Mars and a whole lot of possibilities and studies that could benefit the world,” Al Rafi said during the discussion ‘Trip to Mars: The Strategy’, which was organised by the Dubai Police, the Dubai Police Scientists Council, and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre.

Hope is expected to send over 1,000 gigabytes or one terabyte of data from the red planet. To help one gauge how much data this is, such amount of information could be equivalent to roughly 6.5 million pages of document or 250,000 photos taken with a 12MP camera, according to general estimates.

Hope Probe reaches Mars today: Here's what happens next

Al Rafi, however, clarified that all the information Hope would gather would be anchored on Mars’ weather, climate and atmosphere. “(It won’t be able to investigate) other things like the changes that happen to living bodies in space.”

The probe’s historic mission is only the beginning, Al Rafi said. “Today, we start the journey that will create a road for the UAE to send future missions to the red planet. In the future, we might send other missions that could land on the planet itself and help humanity explore it.”

In about six hours from now, Hope — the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission — will be trying to enter the Martian orbit. Watch it live on the Emirates Mars Mission’s website and stay tuned for updates here on Khaleej Times’ website and social media channels.

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