The United Arab Emirates launched the Al Amal space probe from Japan last year. This means “hope” in Arabic. The country hopes to provide information for future missions to Mars. Money is scattering on the panels in the United Arab Emirates and they are now using it for technological developments. “ They really believe it, ” says planetary scientist Ingie Louis Ten Kit from Utrecht University.
This Mission to Mars is a prestigious project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Emirates. But they have also established many universities and training centers. Purely for space travel. ”
Hope will take pictures
Investments are paying off now. If all goes well, the Hope probe will be in orbit around Mars today. There he would take atmospheric photos for one year on Mars, take measurements and check weather conditions. This Mars year has 687 days.
The United Arab Emirates is the fifth country or organization to reach Mars. The United States, India, the former Soviet Union, and the European Space Agency, ESA, preceded the Emirates. Tomorrow China will also be on that list.
China sent Tianwen 1, the Heavenly Questions, to Mars. This spacecraft will also enter the orbit of the Red Planet first. In May, the Chinese will land their Mars rover in an area where the Viking-2 mission landed in 1976.
Planetary scientist Inge Lewis Ten Kit: The Chinese will be the first to possess a satellite, lander and vehicle in one mission. With a total of 13 search tools. Space missions from China have always been shrouded in secrecy. At some point they’ll tell you something. But often with only successes. With Tianwen-1 it now looks like it’s broken. ”
The shortest path
It’s easy to answer the question of why three missions now arrive at Mars around the same time. Earth and Mars are closest to each other now. A trip to Mars can only be made once every 26 months. You simply have the shortest path. Ten Kate said: Nine months. Mars is just around the corner. More than half of all missions have ended successfully. US firm Marslanders InSight and Curiosity are still operating and providing a wealth of information. Moreover, satellites orbit Mars. Compared to other planets, they are escalating there now. “
The Americans will receive a new craft on Mars on February 18th. Determination. It will collect soil samples and have microphones on board to capture the sound from Mars. “They are recording while landing,” says Tin Kitt. “But also, for example, from the winds at the surface. And from the lasers that analyze the rocks. That way we can study whether the sounds are different, because there is a different atmosphere on Mars.”
Then there is something new about the task of perseverance. Drone helicopter ingenuity. “That’s cool,” Tin Kate says. You can go further with a drone that has a camera. Creativity is merely developing technology. The information obtained will be used in future tasks. “
Manned space station
The final mission to Mars is and will be with humans. There should be a manned station on the red planet within 100 years. At least, that’s the point. “It is also possible,” says Tin Kitt. There is no gravity on Mars, but there is a lot of radiation. The speed at which space technology is developing is good. Problems can be overcome. A manned station can be built underground. Astronauts can do physical exercises there, just like on the International Space Station (ISS). Then the effect on the body is limited. You should be able to stay there for a short time. So there’s in nine months, residency for 26 months and back again in nine months. Bear in mind that the International Space Station holds the record for longest stay in over a year.