Analysis: UAE’s Hope Probe a testimony to humankind’s advancement in space

Analysis: UAE’s Hope Probe a testimony to humankind’s advancement in space

By Hessa Al Hammadi

ABU DHABI, 7th February, 2021 (WAM) -- The United Arab Emirates is a few steps away from making history as the Hope Probe approaches the end of its journey to Mars.

The Chinese spacecraft, Tianwen-1, and the American spacecraft, Perseverance, are also expected to reach the Red Planet in 2021.

The first interplanetary mission by an Arab nation, the Hope Probe is expected to reach Mars on 9th February, 2021.

The probe will attempt to slip into Mars’ orbit by conducting the planet’s orbit insertion manoeuvre. It will try to slow down 30 minutes before arrival to ensure a safe and smooth capture.

After the Mars orbit insertion maneuver and as it takes approximately 20 minutes to receive radio signals from Mars, the Hope Probe will have to complete the operation autonomously. The scientific team expects to receive the first signal afterwards. the team is also prepared for all possibilities and swift action after receiving the first signal.The first image of Mars from Hope will be received during the elliptical orbit, also known as the "capture orbit," which will be the closest point to the planet. After a successful transition from the capture orbit to the "scientific orbit," the probe is expected to begin its scientific mission.

China Tianwin-1’s attempt to enter Mars’ orbit will take place a day after Hope Probe’s crucial day, on 10th February. US’ Perseverance will land on the Red Planet’s once-thriving Jezero crater to search for signs of past and/or microbial life on 18th February, 2021.

The three missions will all work, separately, to discover new dimensions of the Red Planet for a better understanding of the atmosphere and surface.

The Hope Probe, especially, will work on drawing the first weather map of the entire planet. All the three missions will conduct major revolutionary tasks which, if they succeed, will set a path for a future human settlement on Mars.

Mars is our ageing neighbouring twin. It is the ultimate choice for the first human settlement in an outer planet, as everything we know about it today indicates that it was once a wetter thriving planet with a more substantial atmosphere. In fact, recent climate modelling reveals that both Mars and Venus were once quite similar to our very own Earth. Out of the two, Mars is the better choice due to the stable temperatures on the surface in comparison to the fiery Venus.

The Hope Probe’s weather map will not only reveal a full picture of the multiple layers of the atmosphere; it will also study the weather changes. These crucial findings will give scientists a deeper understanding of how to overcome the difficulties of entering the planet, as well as looking at possible uses for the current weather dynamics of the planet to save up on resources and have reliable methods of survival such as food and energy.

The UAE also announced in 2020 that Rashid will be the first Emirati lunar rover to be sent to the Moon in 2024.

To help unify the goals and objectives of lunar missions, the UAE joined seven other nations in October 2020 in signing the Artemis Accords, an international agreement to establish peaceful cooperation to further, explore the Moon.

The goal, after all, is not whether to reach the Moon or Mars. In space exploration, it is never either/or. The answer is always both.

Use the Moonbase as a training and experimental facility and reach Mars for the final steps of the very first human settlement on an outer planet.

It is, indeed, an odyssey of time and determination with an Emirati touch, on our neighbouring Mars and beyond.