The Hope Probe is on its way to Mars — everything you need to know about the UAE’s first jump into interplanetary space

Mission Hope takes off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center on MondayMitsubishi Heavy Industries
  • Mission Hope took off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan at around 4:00 am IST and the probe successfully detached from the rocket after 30 minutes.
  • The Hope Probe is now on a 7-month journey through space until it reaches the Red Planet to study the Martian atmosphere all year round.
  • The probe has three instruments on board to keep tabs on Martian weather so that the data will one day prove useful for colonising the planet.
Mission Hope — or the Hope Probe — isn’t just the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) first bout in interplanetary space exploration, it also kicks off the first of three missions that are headed to the Red Planet this summer.

The UAE's Mission Hope orbiterMBRSC

Mission Hope took off aboard the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA rocket from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center at around 4:00 am Indian Standard Time (IST) on Monday. It was originally scheduled for July 14 but delayed multiple times due to poor weather conditions.


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The probe successfully detached from the rocket after 30 minutes. For the next seven months, it will be flying straight for Mars.

Mission Hope planned journey from Earth to MarsMCRSC

The reasons behind naming the $200 million Mars mission ‘Hope’ was two-fold. One, the Emirati wanted to show that their country can reach new heights in spite of conflicts on the ground. The other reason was their intent to one day colonise Mars.

What makes Mission Hope different from other Mars missions?
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Unlike the other two Mars missions slated to launch this year — Tianwen-1 from China and Mars 2020 from The US — Mission Hope has no intentions of landing on the Red Planet. Instead, it plans to orbit it for a whole Martian year, which amounts to approximately 687 days.


What is Mission Hope expecting to find on Mars?
The main objective of the Mission Hope is to understand Martian weather, which is one of the years they want to complete at least one year’s orbit. As a result, the scientists behind the mission are hoping to establish a connection between the ancient climate of Mars and what it has now.

Performing checks on the Hope ProbeMBRSC

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Instruments aboard Mission hope will also be monitoring the escape of hydrogen and oxygen from the Martian atmosphere in addition to investigating how the lower and upper levels of the atmosphere are connected.

The technology and instruments behind Mission Hope
The Hope Probe has three instruments onboard — the Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS), Emirates Exploration Imager (EXI) and Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS).

The Hope Probe before launchMBRSC

EMIRS will be used to measure the lower atmosphere and determine the temperature of the planet through the next year. EXI will provide information about ozone levels. Finally, EMUS will measure the oxygen and hydrogen level 43,000 kilometres from the surface of Mars.

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Combined, the three will send images of the Martian atmosphere back to Earth in the six to eight hours a week that UAE command and control centre will be able to establish contact.