The UAE Hope Mission to Mars launches today; Learn more about it

The UAE Hope Mission to Mars launches today; Learn more about it

The United Arab Emirates’ Hope Mission to Mars, which was announced six years ago, pushes through despite the current coronavirus pandemic, as it launches today.

Named al-Amal, Arabic for “hope,” the unmanned mission aims to study the Martian atmosphere ultimately. The Hope Mission is the UAE’s first interplanetary mission, led by Sarah Bint Yousif Al-Amiri, a 33-year old engineer who is also the UAE’s minister of state for advanced sciences.

According to Wired, she has split her time for years between Colorado and Dubai, with the goal of getting the Hope mission ready for its launch this year.

Hope’s capabilities

The star of the mission is the Hope satellite, a box-shaped technological wonder the size of a small car. It is equipped with systems and tools that will be used to study Mars’ atmosphere, specifically two gas spectrometers and an imager.

Hope will stay anywhere between 12,000 to 25,000 miles above the Martian surface. The data collected by the satellite will be compared to that from surface rovers like Opportunity.

This is to see how the atmosphere interacts with the surface, and how it overall affects the climate of the red planet.

Setbacks on the final stretch

With it now launching, the project has hit some snags at the final stretch, according to The National.

Because of the reduced travel during the pandemic period, Al-Amiri has had some difficulty getting the rest of her team clearances to fly to Japan.

The launch will be done using a rocket by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is why the location of the launch is the land of the rising sun. However, this adds another potential issue.

Japan’s rainy season is also a factor. Tanegashima Island, where the launch will take place, has been receiving a record amount of rain recently.

This has caused landslides and flooding in the Kagoshima prefecture. Experts are confident, however, that the skies will clear come launch time.

Hope launches officially

The pandemic was, indeed, not a hindrance has Hope finally launches today, 20th July, at 01:58:14 AM (UAE Time) or 19th July 2020 09:58:14 PM GMT.

Those who are interested can watch the live stream here.

Project Director of Emirates Mars Mission, Omran Sharaf, gave a message to “A message of Hope to the Arab youth,” hours before the launch.

The message reads:

The Emirates’ Mars mission is a message of hope to the Arab youth. If a young nation like UAE is able to reach Mars in less than 50 years, then we can do much more as a region. The same way we used to generate knowledge in the past. We can generate knowledge today and in the future to serve humanity.

This is indeed a big step for humanity, not just for UAE. With the pandemic continue to loom the world, news about a new human and technology breakthrough should boost people’s spirits.

Featured image courtesy of Hope Mars Mission/Twitter

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