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Tags Current Affairs

UAE’s Hope probe

Date: 10 February 2021 Tags: Space


The Arab world’s first mission to Mars which took off in July last year is about seven hours away from its destination. 



The probe is named Al-Amal, which means Hope in Arabic. It was launched by UAE with the help of Japanese company.



  • If it is successful, scientists will be able to carry out the objectives of the mission, which include understanding the climate dynamics on the planet and characterising the lower atmosphere of Mars.

  • Hope was developed by UAE scientists in the US. It was launched in July 2020 from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan aboard a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-II A rocket.

  • The spacecraft is on an orbital mission to collect data on Martian climate dynamics and help scientists understand why Mars’s atmosphere is decaying into space.

  • Hope is the UAE’s fourth space mission and first interplanetary one. The previous three were all Earth-observation satellites.

  • Once it is successfully able to reach the planet, it will start orbiting the planet. Its overall mission life is one Martian year, which is about 687 days on Earth.

  • Apart from the UAE, the US and China also launched missions to Mars during the brief launch window which was available in July.

  • During this launch window, Earth and Mars were aligned at their closest points in two years, which means using less fuel to reach the planet.

  • Launch windows are significant since if a spacecraft is launched too early or too late, it will arrive in the planet’s orbit when the planet is not there.


Importance of Mars mission

  • The growing number of missions to Mars by different space agencies across the world is part of the competitive space race, a bid to establish themselves as a leader in space exploration.

  • Aerospace manufacturers such as SpaceX too harbour ambitious missions to the Red planet. They see Mars as an alternative to living on Earth since it is its closest habitable neighbour.

  • What makes scientists and researchers curious about Mars is also the possibility that the planet was once warm enough to allow water to flow through it, which means life could have existed there too.

  • No human has set foot on Mars yet because the atmosphere on Mars is very thin, consisting of mostly carbon dioxide with no breathable oxygen, making it difficult for astronauts to survive there.

  • Further, the landscape of Mars is freezing, with no protection from the Sun’s radiation or passing dust storms. 

  • More research, technology and testing is required to be able to send humans to Mars. NASA plans to do so by the 2030s.

  • Mars has historically been “unfriendly” to Earth’s attempts to visit it and more missions have been planned to reach Mars than any other planet or place in the solar system, barring the Moon. 

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