The United Arab Emirates “Hope” probe is closest of the three launched last year in July to Mars’ orbit.
In 2020, the UAE, China and the US all launched probes that will observe and monitor the red planet. The UAE’s probe is expected to enter orbit on February 9 with China following a day later. This will make it the fifth country to ever have a craft to reach Mars. Previous success stories include the US, European Union, China and India.
There is a risk that this might not work out. Emirati officials estimate a 50% chance of success as the maneuver needed to be completed is difficult.
It will need to slow down to be captured by Mars’ gravity. In order to do this, it will fire all six of its Delta-V thrusters for 27 minutes to reduce its cruising speed of 121,000 kilometres per hour to about 18,000 km/h.
“It is humbling to be in such auspicious and skilled company as we all embark on our missions,” Omran Sharaf, the UAE mission’s project manager told AFP. “It was never a race for us. We approach space as a collaborative and inclusive effort.”
Should it be successful, Hope’s main goal is to provide a comprehensive image of the planet’s weather dynamics.
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