UAE Launches First Satellite to Mars

By: Rhea Agrawal

The United Arab Emirates , located on the Arabian Peninsula, could join the U.S., India, the Soviet Union, and Europe in successfully sending a spacecraft to Mars. On July 15, the Emirates Mars Mission will launch expecting to reach its destination in February 2021.

The mission could help the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by enhancing its industry and interest in science while simultaneously reporting fundamental data about the Red Planet. The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), more commonly referred to as the Hope Satellite will be launched on a Japanese Island and if successful, will help significantly in learning more about Mars.

Francois Forget, a member of the Hope Science team at the Laboratory of Dynamic Meteorology, explains how the data would help to fill in missing information in the computer models of Mars’ atmosphere. Currently, the models are unable to recreate the distribution of atmospheric dust or explain why dust storms could completely cover the planet, but monitoring the atmosphere for the entire day could help solve these mysteries.

“One of the primary objectives of the mission from the start was to do science that is relevant to the international community,” states Sarah al-Amiri, EMM’s science lead. Amiri refers to how the information recovered from the Hope Satellite could be beneficial globally. “The more instruments that are taking measurements of Mars, the better,” says Lori Neary, who works for the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy. She hopes that the data from the mission could help understand the planet’s ozone levels, which mainly depend on the amount of sunlight.

Another benefit of the EMM is a surge in numbers of students interested in science in the UAE. Emirati universities have created multiple new science programs. The University of Sharjah has seen the number of students enrolled in physics and astronomy doubled since the start of the mission.

Sources: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/07/first-spacecraft-red-planet-united-arab-emirates-poised-join-elite-mars-club

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