To do this, the probe must slow down sufficiently to be captured by the force of gravity on Mars. To do this, all six Delta V thrusters on the probe are switched on for the first time. The y should reduce the speed from 121,000 to 18,000 kilometers per hour within 27 minutes.
The maneuver, which is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. CET, will use up half of Hope’s fuel. Eleven minutes later, the signal that reports the success of the maneuver is to be received on Earth. The probe should then orbit Mars within 40 days. After just under two months, “Hope” should then switch to the appropriate orbit to start collecting scientific data.
Unlike the current Mars missions from China and the US, the Arab mission does not plan to land on the Red Planet. Three high-tech measuring instruments on board the “Hope” are to explore the planet’s atmosphere for a year on Mars, i.e. 687 days: An infrared spectrometer measures the deeper Martian atmosphere and analyzes the temperatures there. A high-resolution imager gathers information on ozone levels in the Martian atmosphere, and a spectrometer for ultraviolet light measures oxygen and hydrogen levels.
Research into the atmosphere of another planet should also allow conclusions to be drawn about the climate on earth. But the “Hope” mission has even bigger goals: The Emirates wanted to use it to “send a strong message to the Arab youth and remind them that we were producers of knowledge,” said the mission’s project manager, Omran Scharaf, with a view to the golden age of science in the Arab world in the Middle Ages.
For the Emirates, the Mars mission is also the ticket to be accepted into an exclusive club on time for their 50th anniversary: so far only the USA, India, the former Soviet Union and the European Space Agency (ESA) have made missions to Mars.
Ambitious space strategy
The United Arab Emirates has twelve satellites in space and plans to position a few more in the coming years. In September 2019, Hassa al-Mansuri was also the first Emirati to fly into space. He was the first Arab on board the International Space Station, but only for eight days.
The “Hope” mission is just the beginning of a comprehensive exploration of Mars. The Emirates want to build a settlement there by 2117. To research the living conditions on Mars and to develop technologies for colonization on Mars, a “Science City” in the desert outside the gates of Dubai is being planned.
The Emirates want to send an unmanned rover to the moon as early as 2024. Another field of activity is the development of space tourism. To this end, the Emirates have signed a letter of intent with Richard Branson’s space company Virgin Galactic. The country also announced the creation of a space court.