THE UNITED Arab Emirates’ Mars mission has just resulted in success with the Hope probe now orbiting the planet.
That means Hope has beaten other missions by the US and China that are also heading for the Red Planet.
The three countries all launched their projects last July when Mars’s orbit brought it close to Earth.
The process for Hope to enter Mars’s orbit began at around 15:30 GMT today.
The success means the UAE has become the fifth country ever to reach the Red Planet’s orbit with a spacecraft.
Hope’s success has always aimed to coincide with the the 50th anniversary year of the UAE which formed in 1971.
It launched on July 19, 2020 at around 10pm UTC.
The entire project is led by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.
But scientists working on the mission have collaborated with a number of other academic organisations in the US.
Unlike the US and China missions, no part of the UAE Hope orbiter will touch down on the surface of Mars.
Instead it will remain in orbit around the Red Planet to make various measurements.
It will study the daily and seasonal cycles of weather, and how the climate of Mars is changing more generally.
China’s mission looks set to reach Mars’s orbit next, shortly followed by the US.
The UAE is celebrating by lighting the city up in red and emblazoning #ArabstoMars on Dubai’s Burj Khalifa building.
Hope, called “Al-Amal” in Arabic, has plans to orbit Mars for 687 days.
You can watch live commentary on the Emirates Mars Mission website.
Here’s what you need to know about the red planet…
- Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun
- It is named after the Roman god of war
- The landmass of Mars is very similar to Earth but due to the difference in gravity you could jump three times higher there than you can here
- Mars is mountainous and hosts the tallest mountain known in the Solar System called Olympus Mons, which is three times higher than Everest
- Mars is considered to be the second most habitable planet after Earth
- It takes the planet 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun
- So far, there has been 39 missions to Mars but only 16 of these have been successful
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