Hope probe reveals amazing photo of Mars after its tense arrival

The picture the Martian north pole and Olympus Mons, the planet’s largest volcano

Adam Smith@adamndsmith
Monday 15 February 2021 13:30
UAE Hope Probe approaches Mars
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The Hope probe, sent into orbit around Mars last week by the United Arab Emirates, has sent back its first photo of the Red Planet.

The photo was taken from approximately 25,000 kilometres above the planet, using the Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI) - a 12MP tool that measures the Mars via visible and ultraviolet light. It is also used to measure water ice and ozone in the atmosphere.

The successful mission from the UAE makes it only the fifth country to have reached Mars.

“The transmission of the Hope Probe’s first image of Mars is a defining moment in our history and marks the UAE joining advanced nations involved in space exploration”, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan tweeted, alongside the photo.

“We hope this mission will lead to new discoveries about Mars which will benefit humanity”.

The picture shows light from the sun coming across the surface of the planet, as well as showing the Martian north pole. It also shows Olympus Mons, the planet’s largest volcano.

The Hope probe made it to Mars last Wednesday, travelling at over 120,000km/h (75,000mph), and will track hydrogen and oxygen atoms at the top of the alien atmosphere, as well as how dust affects the planet’s temperature.

The probe had to also pull off a particularly challenging 27-minute manoeuvre entirely autonomously, due to the vast distance between Earth and Mars.

During the mission, it would have taken 11 minutes for radio transmissions to travel from mission control to the probe - far too long to carry out the nuanced procedures necessary for the probe’s descent to be successful.

The move, if unsuccessful, risked the probe being launched into the vastness of space.

It is possible that the research collected by the probe could be the foundation for human settlements on Mars.

Day-by-day information could be used to better help design shelters and other technology that could be used off-world.

The Hope probe was the first of three Mars missions that are expected to land on the planet, followed by Nasa’s Perseverance rover and China’s Tianwen-1 mission.

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