The United Arab Emirates launches a mission to Mars. This mission, called Hope, is not only the first of its kind led by Abu Dhabi, but it is also the very first led by an Arab country.
The launch in summary
- What? The first Arab interplanetary mission, with the sending of a probe to Mars;
- When? July 19, 2020, at 11.58 p.m. (Paris time);
- Or ? At the Japanese space center at Tanegashima;
- What will we see? Sending a probe to Mars as part of the Hope mission, the first of its kind in the United Arab Emirates.
What is the mission?
The United Arab Emirates will send a space probe to Mars. This is a great first, not only for Abu Dhabi, but for the entire Arab world. It is indeed the first time that a state in the region has planned a mission to the red planet. So far, only the USA, Russia, the European Union, China and India have managed to make such an interplanetary journey.
However, since the United Arab Emirates does not have an on-site launch base or a home launcher, it must rely on an international partner, in this case Japan, which makes available its space center and its H-IIA rocket. If the insertion into orbit is successful, the United Arab Emirates will be the sixth space power to achieve this, which is no small feat: Japan, a technologically very advanced nation, had failed in 1998.
Beyond the prestige that is also sought after, Abu Dhabi intends to carry out a useful scientific objective. In this case, the Hope mission (Al Amal, in Arabic) aims to take a complete “photograph” of the Martian atmosphere, ie an analysis of its multiple layers, of its structure, of Martian weather, of climatic dynamics , as well as the reasons which lead this atmosphere to evaporate.
The probe should arrive in the area in 2021 and its mission should span almost two years, a Martian year. It has 3 instruments on board: an infrared spectrometer (EMIRS), an ultraviolet spectrometer (EMUS) and a photo lens for taking high-resolution shots (EXI). They were designed in partnership by the Mohammed bin Rashid center and two American universities.
Since the United Arab Emirates has no launch base, the mission will leave from Japan. More precisely, from the Yoshinobu shooting complex, on the island of Tanegashima, which is located very south of the archipelago. The flight is scheduled for Sunday July 19 at 11.58 p.m. metropolitan time. If all goes well, the probe must be inserted into the Martian orbit in 2021.
How to follow the launch live
Since this is a first for the United Arab Emirates space agency, significant media coverage is proposed. Several distribution channels are set up (Dubai TV, Abu Dhabi TV, Dubai One), with commentators in Arabic and English. A retransmission is also planned without any intervener. This is what we offer in the video below.