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UAE, US Mars missions to collaborate for greater scientific returns

Partnership to allow deeper insights by sharing observations and data analysis from both spacecrafts that are orbiting the Red Planet

File photo
File photo

Nandini Sircar

Published: Tue 12 Apr 2022, 7:40 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Apr 2022, 7:46 PM

The UAE and the US Mars missions will be collaborating on science data analysis leading to greater scientific partnership and data exchange between the two missions.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday tweeted to express his happiness over the project.

"The agreement with Nasa's Maven project will help deepen humanity’s understanding of the red planet," the Dubai Ruler wrote.

The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) which is the first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab nation, has finalised a science data analysis collaboration initiative with NASA’s MAVEN Mars Mission enhancing scientific returns from both spacecraft that are currently orbiting the Red Planet.

The alliance enables the sharing and analysis of data and observations made by the Emirates Mars Mission’s (EMM) Hope Probe and NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) project.

The arrangement is expected to add significant value to both EMM and MAVEN and the global scientific communities analysing the data the missions are collecting.

EMM science complements MAVEN

Omran Sharaf, Project Director of the Emirates Mars Mission, said, “The opportunity to work alongside other Mars missions and derive greater insights by sharing our observations and working together to fit together the pieces of the puzzle is one we are delighted to take. The complementarity of EMM and MAVEN means we can truly gain a bigger picture together.”

MAVEN completed its Mars orbit insertion in 2014. Its mission is to investigate the upper atmosphere and ionosphere of Mars, offering an insight into how the planet’s climate has changed over time.

Shannon Curry, Research scientist in planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley and MAVEN Principal Investigator opined, “Combined, we will have a much better understanding of the coupling between the two and the influence of the lower atmosphere on escape to space of gas from the upper atmosphere.”

The EMM’s Hope Probe, which entered the Martian orbit on February 9, 2021, 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 planet’s atmosphere at different times of the day, through different seasons.

Sharaf further says, “Now, by combining the two datasets from the EMM and MAVEN missions and analysing the results together, we can build a powerful response to many fundamental questions we have about Mars and the evolution and dynamics of its atmosphere.”


Hope set out to measure the global, diurnal, and seasonal response of the Martian atmosphere to solar forcing; the atmospheric conditions relating to the rate of atmospheric escape – particularly of Hydrogen and Oxygen and the temporal and spatial behaviour of Mars’ exosphere.

Early results have revealed exciting observations of Mars’ discrete aurora and greater bandwidth available to encompass additional observation of the auroral phenomena, have been brought into the mission’s targets, extending its capabilities beyond Hope’s planned goals.

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