UAE's Hope probe 'first step' towards city on Mars
Abu Dhabi - Sending a mission to the Mars orbit is the first and indirect stage in studying the existence of life in Mars.
The successful launch of Hope Probe is the first step towards the UAE's ambitious goal of setting up a city on the Red Planet by 2117, said a space scientist in Abu Dhabi.
Dimitra Atri, chief research scientist at the NYUAD Center for Space Science, told Khaleej Times that sending a mission to the Mars orbit is the first and indirect stage in studying the existence of life in Mars.
"There is no evidence of life in Mars till date. But there is a general consensus among the scientific community that the Red Planet had a thick atmosphere and it was able to sustain liquid Hydrogen. One of the most fundamental questions in planetary science is how do planets lose their atmosphere. Hope Probe could help us answer many questions about how Mars' atmosphere depleted," said Atri, who is an astrophysicist interested in exoplanetary atmospheres, star-planet interactions, Mars, planetary habitability and space weather. Before joining NYU, he worked as a research scientist at Blue Marble Space Institute in Seattle (USA) and a visiting scientist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai (India). Atri is regular member in committees of Nasa and the National Science Foundation (USA).
Though Hope Probe cannot give direct evidence about life in Mars from the orbit, Atri said the UAE's inter-planetary mission and the Martian data it will collect will be crucial in understanding and studying the space weather and how it impacts planets.
"Understanding solar radiation and how it impacts Mars and Earth is one of the most crucial outcomes of the mission that will help the scientific community make future predications and also find solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change." He said NYU's Space Research Centre is working together with the UAE's astronaut's programme on a research project on how radiation in Mars will impact human body.