The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced their ambitious plans to send an unmanned probe to Mars. The probe, which has been named 'Hope,' will be the first Arab mission to another planet. Hope's mission is to sample Mars' atmosphere and track how it changes over features such as canyons, volcanos and deserts as well as over time.
It will be the first ever truly global picture of the Martian atmosphere and will model the different components of the climate: temperatures, winds, dust and clouds. “The science objectives include round-the-clock global weather mapping of the Red Planet in order to better understand how surface weather changes the upper Martian atmosphere,” said the University of Colorado in a press release.
The data will be shared freely among over 200 research institutes and universities across the globe.
“This is an important project because of the legacy that this project leaves ... to develop the science and technology sector,” deputy project manager Sarah Amiri said. It is certain to inspire a new wave of young scientists in the UAE.
It will be a time-pressured launch. Mars will be at its closest orbital point in July 2020. The clock is ticking to get the probe built and launched in time for a short nine-month journey to the planet.
The UAE is hopeful that this atmospheric data will help scientists make predictions about Earth's future and how it will evolve over millions of years.
“Scientists are interested in how and why Mars—which has gone from a warm, wet planet to a cold, dry planet—is losing its oxygen and hydrogen into space,” the University of Colorado said in a press release.