Capturing rare and elusive pictures of a tricky aurora on Mars through its Hope Probe, the UAE has once again demonstrated its commitment to the global scientific community in advancing the horizons of space exploration.
The images of a ghostly glow known as Mars’ Discrete Aurora, taken by Hope Probe’s Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), were released by the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) on Wednesday. As observed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the high-quality images “open up unprecedented potential for the global science community to investigate solar interactions with Mars”.
The Hope Probe’s first major finding – just a couple months after arriving at the Red Planet – is thus yet another milestone for the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission. It is all the more memorable because, thanks to the images sent by Hope Probe, scientists around the world have been easily able to spot the highly localised night-side aurora that they had earlier struggled to study for decades.
When UAE Mars Mission scientists, inspired by the history of Red Planet exploration, selected three instruments for the Hope Probe to gather data about the atmosphere and weather of the planet, the EMUS was chosen specifically to study the thin, vast halo of hydrogen and oxygen surrounding Mars to help scientists understand how those gases slip away from the planet into space. Gathering that data requires a particularly sensitive instrument, and that’s where the images of the Discrete Aurora have worked to reinforce the scientific purpose of the mission for the wider benefit of the scientific community.
The findings also live up to the name of the Hope Probe in connecting the mission to humanity’s boundless quest for a better future, as well as to showcase the success of Arab and Emirati achievements.
In a year that the UAE celebrates its Golden Jubilee, these rare images and the mission itself form the perfect bridge between the amazing feats of the past 50 years – while looking forward to the exciting developments of the next 50.
A quest that began with the nation’s Founding Father, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s hope in the 1970s that the UAE would one day become a space pioneer, has today been fulfilled with the Hope Probe beaming these rare images. As the probe continues to orbit the Red Planet in its search for more pioneering breakthroughs, so does the UAE’s quest to further strengthen its diversified, knowledge-based economy that ultimately leads to progress the world over and ultimately helps advance human civilisation.