UAE’s ‘Hope Probe’ arrives at Mars

UAE's Hope Probe enters orbit in First Arab Mars Mission

The UAE’s Hope orbiter successfully entered orbit around Mars at 10:57 a.m. EST (1557 GMT) on Feb. 9. It entered orbit after a seven-month and 494-million-kilometre journey. The mission will allow the UAE to start studying and sending back data about the Martian atmosphere and climate.

Hope was developed by UAE scientists in the US. It was launched in July 2020 from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan aboard a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-II. A rocket and its launch became the 45th for H-II A. The attempt had a 50 per cent chance of failing, Dubai’s ruler and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had said. To enter Mars’ orbit, the probe needed to burn around half its 800 kilograms of onboard fuel to slow down enough not to overshoot, the most dangerous part of the journey. “Today is the start of a new chapter in Arab history … of trust in our capability to compete with other nations and people,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted after the probe entered orbit. “The UAE will celebrate its Golden Jubilee with science, culture and inspiration because we aim to build a model of development.” This year marks 50 years since independence from Britain and the founding of the UAE federation, which groups seven emirates, including Dubai.

The Emirates Mars Mission — which has cost around $US200 million ($258 million) — launched the Hope Probe. It aims to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time, studying daily and seasonal changes.