ABU DHABI, July 19, 2020 (WAM) – Mars, our closest but mysterious planetary neighbor, will soon welcome new unmanned visitors to planet Earth, including the first mission to the Red Planet by a West Asian, Arab or Muslim majority country: Probe Hope – the mission of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Mars “Al-Amal”.
The probe will fly around Mars in a way that has never been done before, and therein lies our contribution to humanity as a whole. If all goes well as planned with these three projects, the year 2021 could open the way to extraordinary discoveries to unravel more mysteries about the Roman god of war and agriculture! Hope Probe: The United Arab Emirates launches the Arab world’s first interplanetary orbiter spacecraft. This follows the successful launch in 2018 of KhalifaSat, an Earth observation satellite. The Hope spacecraft will be launched from Japan and, if all goes well, is expected to reach March by February 2021, the year that marks the United Arab Emirates’ golden jubilee.
The objectives of the Emirates Mission Mars (EMM) are set to focus on the meteorological dynamics of Mars, as well as the study of the Martian atmosphere in a way that helps explain why the red planet loses its atmosphere in following the leakage of hydrogen and oxygen. The probe’s analysis data will help build a complete picture that should provide a better understanding of Mars’ transition from a once humid and flourishing world to the planet, now dry and cold. The objectives of the EMM go in unison with a much larger and ambitious objective: to build a human settlement on the red planet over the next 100 years, a step that will remain in the annals of history! The Hope probe will remain in orbit for an entire Martian year, which is equivalent to 687 days on Earth and will take 55 hours per loop at an average speed of 121,000 km / h.
The probe will be controlled from Dubai and will be launched with the first Arab countdown of all time! Tianwen-1 Another country vying for the treasures of our vast universe is China, which is entering the Martian race with its anticipatory trifecta spacecraft. The Tianwen-1 is an orbiter, rover, and lander; a first of its kind.
The spacecraft is expected to launch around July 23, but the date is not yet confirmed. If successful, it will be a dramatic step forward for the Chinese space program.
China has already managed to land several lunar landers, but landing on Mars is much more difficult because of the planet’s atmosphere.
The atmosphere of Mars will require some kind of thermal protection for the spacecraft, and the air would be too thin to rely only on parachutes for a slow and safe descent.
Landing is not the primary objective of the mission, however. Tianwen-1 will explore and collect as much data as possible on the red planet.
The orbiter will study the planet’s magnetic field and atmosphere, as well as mapping the surface using a high-resolution camera. As the rover, equipped with ground penetrating radar (GPR), will focus on mapping the subsoil of Mars and investigate the presence of ice on the planet.
Perseverance Rover: The United States, the only country that has managed to land a spacecraft on Mars, will land a new rover to accompany its two siblings already in activity, the InSight and Curiousity rovers.
Perseverance will launch on July 30 and land on Jezero Crater, an area with high potential for finding signs of past microbial life. A breakthrough, if discovered, will mark a historic discovery and solid proof that Mars was once thriving with at least simple molecules of microbial life.
Tangible proof once and for all that life can form on planets other than Earth.
The rover will collect samples of the rocks of the red planet to bring them back to Earth, it will also study the past climatic and geological conditions of Mars integrated in its rocks. The rocks of the Jezero crater, which was a probable oasis in the past, could have preserved the organic molecules of the ancient river.
NASA Perseverance will also deliver a revolutionary new project, Ingenuity, the first Martian helicopter of its kind to Mars. Ingenuity will be the first aircraft to attempt a controlled flight over another planet. The task is not as simple as it seems, because Mars has a cruel freezing climate and a very thin atmosphere of low density.
Beat the clock! There is a very limited amount of time to send spacecraft to Mars in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. In order to use the minimum energy and fuel consumption needed to reach Mars, the two planets must be aligned on the same side of the sun. The trip generally takes around 7 months to reach its destination.
If these journeys succeed in reaching the red planet and producing fruit, we look forward to great discoveries that will allow us to better understand our neighbor, evident that he was once quite similar to Earth.
Space exploration is a necessary step to understand the vast universe which holds as many secrets as it contains stars, while giving us a better understanding of the past and the future of our own planet. Mars will not only give us a better chance of knowing if life existed elsewhere in the universe, a fundamental question of humanity to which we have not yet found an answer, but would also be an obvious and perfect destination for future human explorations and perhaps settlements outside the Earth.
Translated by: Mervat Mahmoud.