Success! Arab probe orbiting Mars

al-amal

After a seven-month journey, the Emirati spacecraft “Al-Amal” reached orbit around the red planet.

On July 19, the Arab world’s first interplanetary space mission took off – a historic moment for the United Arab Emirates. After months of suspense, today was released: The Hope Space Probe that successfully orbited Mars. “This is history in the making,” she said.

This must have been a difficult moment for the MBRSC crew. Since it took ten minutes for the signal of hope to reach Earth, the probe had to switch to autopilot. Its batches burned for 27 minutes, which is also exciting, since it never ignited for long in tests. At the flight control center, they didn’t know if this was going well until the operation was nearly over.

A journey of hope.

Al-Amal

Emirates’ first interplanetary space mission is one of three races to Mars. For example, the Chinese Mars mission began on July 23, and the probe is expected to enter orbit around the Red Planet tomorrow. Moreover, the United States has also been on its way to the orb for seven months. All countries use a period when Earth and Mars are relatively close to each other.

al-Amal
To build its satellite, the United Arab Emirates worked closely with American experts. Space travel is not really on the map in the UAE yet. Perhaps this mission will change that. © Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center

Unlike Chinese and American rovers, Hope does not land on the red planet, but rather puts itself in orbit. There, it will study the spacecraft and map the atmosphere for a Martian year, or 687 days. It is equipped with three tools for this.

With the UAE Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS), the satellite will study features of temperature, ice, water vapor, and dust in the atmosphere in the infrared (or thermal) spectrum of Mars. The tool has a rotating mirror that allows it to scan the planet.

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The Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI) detects particles in the Martian atmosphere. The instrument looks at the light emitted by a star, such as the sun, in the visible and ultraviolet spectrum. Then she turns her eyes back to that star, but then she looks through the Martian atmosphere. The scientists then compare the light spectra of the star – the primary measurement, as it were – with the spectra of the atmosphere. This is because particles absorb light at certain wavelengths and by analyzing the included wavelengths, researchers can find out what substances are in the atmosphere of the red planet. In addition, this camera takes high-resolution images of Mars.

Finally, there is the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer (EMUS), which makes measurements in the ultraviolet spectrum of the upper layers of Mars: the thermosphere (100 to 200 km high) and the outermost layer (over 200 km). There, the scale examines the emission of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon monoxide and how these change seasonally.

Put on the map

To unleash hope, both literally and figuratively, the UAE has worked closely with many American universities. Space technology is not on the map yet in this Gulf country. The head of the Mars mission, for example, has studied computer technology. Through this project, the country hopes to encourage young people to pursue a pilot study that may eventually lead to a job in space travel.

You can read more about this Mars mission and the China-US mission at KIJK 3/2021. This edition will be in stores from February 18th to March 17th.

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Photo: Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center

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