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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

EXCLUSIVE…"SEE" Uncovers Details of UAE's Mars Probe  

Sun 12 Jul 2020 | 05:33 PM
NaDa Mustafa

Under the slogan of "Arabs to Mars", the first-ever Arab space mission to the Red Planet will be launched next July 15 to explore the atmosphere of Mars.

The unmanned "Hope" probe will be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, within the framework of UAE's ambitious space program.

In exclusive statements to "SEE" website, renowned Egyptian-American space scientist and geologist Farouk El-Baz expressed happiness with Arab youth's interest in the "Hope" probe's launch.

"This is how the leaders of countries who believe in the capabilities of their youth and support the quality of work, whatever the odds, act," El-Baz continued.

"Congratulations to Emirati youth and welcome to the International space exploration complex," he added.

The prominent geologist also added that the rest of the Arab youth should value this distinguished step and prove to the whole world that they are able to restore their scientific and technical excellence.

On his part, Hussein al-Shafei, head of the Egyptian-Russian Foundation for Culture and Science and advisor to the Russian Space Agency said that the UAE has fulfilled its promise it made in 2014 to send the "Hope" probe to explore Mars in 2020.

Al-Shafei added that the lift-off has been scheduled for 12.51am UAE time from the Tanegashima Space Centre, in Japan. The probe will travel the distance between the Earth and the closet point to Mars, which reaches 493 million kilometers.

Head of the Egyptian-Russian Foundation for Culture and Science noted that the probe will revolve in elliptical orbits around Mars planet; each orbit will last for 55 hours, according to Mohamed Bin Rashid Space Center and The Emirates Space Agency.

The Probe shape

-Hope probe resembles the size and weight of a small car with a total mass (including fuel) of 1,500kg, according to NASA.

-It is 2.37m wide and 2.9m tall.

-It was designed, manufactured, assembled, and loaded with operating and control programs by Emirati national competencies under Japanese supervision.

-It is equipped with a high-resolution three-dimensional camera, and a UV spectrometer to study the atmosphere of Mars.

The probe is expected to collect more than 1,000 GB of new data.

The UAE announced that it will share the data with more than 200 academic and scientific institutions around the world for free.

The mission's aim:

The Probe consists of three scientific tools, which would collect an unprecedented amount of data related to the atmosphere of Mars, with the aim of forming the most accurate picture of its structure and climate changes over the days, months, seasons, and years.

This drive will monitor at least 80% of the surface of Mars every 72 hours and will provide about 87% daily coverage to the planet every ten days.

The probe will also study what drove oxygen and hydrogen — the building blocks of water — out of Mars’ atmosphere.

This loss of atmosphere is believed to be the root cause behind Mars becoming a cold desert.

Understanding what caused this could help researchers understand how the Martian atmosphere has evolved over time and potentially how life on Mars could have been lost.

Throughout the scientific data collection phase of the UAE's Mars Project, the Probe will distribute its time between collecting data, charging its batteries, and contacting Earth to send data and download instructions.

However, the time allocated to the probe's contact with the Earth will be limited. It ranges between 6: 8 hours, twice a week. At that time, the probe must transfer all the collected raw data, to the scientific team- to Earth- to begin analyzing it.