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Current Affairs

HOPE mission

Date: 16 July 2020 Tags: Space

Issue

The launch of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) first mission to Mars has been delayed by two days due to bad weather conditions. The UAE’s Hope spacecraft was scheduled to take off from its launch site in Japan on July 14. The mission is now scheduled for July 16 launch.

 

Background

The spacecraft must blast off from the Earth during a brief launch window in July, since Earth and Mars orbit the Sun at different rates and are aligned at their closest points only once every two years.

 

Details

  • The Emirates Mars Mission called “Hope” was announced in 2015 with the aim of creating mankind’s first integrated model of the Red planet’s atmosphere.

  • Hope will carry scientific instruments mounted on one side of the spacecraft, including the Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI), which is a high-resolution camera, the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), a far-UV imaging spectrograph, the Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer (EMIRS), and FTIR scanning spectrometer.

  • The spacecraft will orbit Mars to study the Martian atmosphere and its interaction with outer space and solar winds.

  • Hope will collect data on Martian climate dynamics, which should help scientists understand why Mars’ atmosphere is decaying into space.

  • Once it launches, Hope will orbit Mars for around 200 days, after which it will enter the Red planet’s orbit by 2021. The mission is being executed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, UAE’s space agency.

  • It will help answer key questions about the global Martian atmosphere and the loss of hydrogen and oxygen gases into space over the span of one Martian year.

  • Hope is the Arab world’s first mission to Mars. Apart from the UAE, US, China and the European Space Agency have future missions to Mars planned.

  • NASA is set to launch its Perseverance rover, part of its Mars 2020 mission between July 30-August 15. The rover will explore ancient habitability, seek signs of ancient life, gather rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth and demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration.

  • What makes scientists curious about Mars is the “defining question” of the existence of life on the planet, because of the possible presence of liquid water on it, either in the past or preserved in its subsurface.