This week, the United Arab Emirates reached the orbit of the red planet Mars. The Hope spacecraft was launched in July 2020 and just arrived on Mars here on February 9, 2021. “This has been a remarkable journey for humanity,” said United Arab Emirates Space Agency president Sarah Al Amiri. This is the first interplanetary mission in the United Arab Emirates.
Hope was launched aboard an H-IIA rocket made in Japan in July 2020 and spent weeks and months in space, traveling to Mars. Now, today, February 9, 2021, they have successfully reached the red planet and entered orbit around the planet. The United Arab Emirates is only the fifth entity to reach Mars, including India, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Soviet Union and NASA.
As noted by Space dot com, Hope is now “in a temporary orbit that she will maintain for a few months while turning on her instruments and settling into her new home”. The United Arab Emirates has a plan to move Hope into a scientific orbit in May 2021.
The Hope mission has a schedule planned for a Martian year. This will last approximately 687 days here on Earth. During this time, Hope will measure various atmospheric phenomena around the planet.
The Hope spacecraft works with three instruments that measure various bits around the planet. They will aim to measure how Mars loses atmosphere to space. They will try to study the connections between the atmospheric layers around Mars. They will also study the climate of Mars from above.
This is not the only mission to Mars this month. NASA’s Perseverance rover targets the red planet this month – it will likely land on February 18, 2021. The China Tianwen-1 mission is also planned to arrive this week. Take a look at the first picture of Mars from Tianwen-1 now, or take a look at our most recent Perseverance article on wild landing to learn more about that mission.