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FIRSTLY, WHAT IS THE HOPE PROBE?: The Hope probe is an unmanned spacecraft equipped with several scientific instruments that the UAE has sent up into space to study the planet Mars.
Image Credit: AFP
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WHAT WILL IT DO? It will collect scientific data on the Red Planet’s atmosphere and weather, to help discover whether there could have ever been real-life Martians living there – or if there might even be life forms living there now!
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HOW BIG IS IT? The main body of the Hope probe is about the size of a large car or van like you might see on Sheikh Zayed Road. With its solar panels open it measures 3 metres by 7.9 metres.
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HOW FAST IS IT? Although it might be around the size of a big car, it is much, much faster than a car, going at a whopping 79,199 km/hr! Here you can see the rocket that blasted the Hope Probe into the air from its launch pad in Japan.
Image Credit: Reuters
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HOW HEAVY IS IT? The Hope probe weighs 1,350kg, which is about the same as 200 average-sized adults (or about the same as a small elephant!).
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HOW FAR IS IT TRAVELLING? The probe mission will be covering 493.5 Million kilometres, which is the equivalent of travelling all the way from the UAE to Australia almost 50,000 times, or around the circumference of the Earth more than 12,000 times!
Image Credit: Screengrab
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WHY DO SCIENTISTS WANT TO STUDY MARS? Images of the surface of Mars suggest that Mars used to be a warmer and wetter planet than it appears to be today. Scientists want to know why the Martian climate changed into the dry, dusty planet we know now. This information may help us to understand whether life ever existed on Mars, and whether Mars might be a planet that could one day support human life.
Image Credit: GN Archives
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WHAT IS MARS LIKE? Mars is a very cold desert world, with average temperatures of -60 degrees Celsius. Like Earth, Mars has seasons, polar ice caps, volcanoes, canyons, and weather, according to NASA. It has a very thin atmosphere made of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon. There are signs of ancient floods on Mars, but now water mostly exists in icy dirt and thin clouds. On some Martian hillsides, there is evidence of liquid salty water in the ground.
Image Credit: NASA/ JPL/ Malin Space Science Systems
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COULD HUMANS REALLY LIVE ON MARS? Maybe! Earth is the third planet from the sun and Mars is our neighbour as the fourth planet from the sun, although it is much smaller than Earth (about half the size). Studies suggest that Mars (and Venus) were once very similar to our own Earth, and these similarities mean that Mars is the first choice for potential future human settlement in an outer planet. Mars is preferred to Venus because it has a more stable temperature.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
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DID YOU KNOW? YOU WOULD BE A YOUNG MARTIAN: Although Mars and Earth have days of a similar length, Mars takes nearly twice as long to orbit around the sun, meaning its years are almost double that of an Earth year (687 days in a Martian year compared to 365 days in an Earth year). That means you would be roughly half of your Earth age if you were to live on Mars!
Image Credit: Shutterstock
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WHY IS MARS RED?: Mars appears red because of the iron elements in its soil and rocks. When this iron is exposed to the air, it 'oxidizes' and turns a red/ rust colour - the same way an old trampoline left in the garden for a long time might get rusty. This rusty dust eventually gets into the atmosphere and makes the sky look reddy pink.
Image Credit: NASA/ JPL/ Cornell
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WHY IS IT CALLED MARS?: Mars is named after the Roman god of War because they noticed its reddish colour and thought it resembled blood. This is a photo of Mars taken from the Hope probe.
Image Credit: Twitter
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DOES MARS HAVE ITS OWN MOONS? Mars has two moons, Phobos and Demos. They’re not round like our moon but knobbly shaped, because they aren’t heavy enough for gravity to make them spherical. The moons get their names from the horses that pulled the chariot of the Greek god of war, Ares. In ancient Greek, Phobos means “flight,” and Deimos means “fear.”
Image Credit: Shutterstock
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WILL THE HOPE PROBE LAND ON MARS?: No it will not land on Mars, however the Hope probe is planning to enter Mars’ orbit – which is a sort of circular pathway in space around Mars controlled by gravity. Once it gets into Mars’ orbit it will be able take down lots of information on the Red Planet and send it back to the scientists on Earth to study.
Image Credit: Supplied
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DID YOU KNOW? Major landmarks across the UAE turned red recently to celebrate the Hope probe mission's imminent meeting with Mars because this is such an amazing achievement for the UAE.
Image Credit: DMO
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DID YOU KNOW? Children across the UAE have been learning about the Hope Probe and Mars to mark this momentous time in UAE history. Have you been doing anything for #MarsWeek?
Image Credit: Adam/Gulf News
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CAN I WATCH THE HOPE PROBE ARRIVING AT MARS? Yes! You can watch the live streaming of Hope Probe’s meeting with Mars from 6.30pm on Tuesday 9 February on the Emirates Mars Mission website: www.emiratesmarsmission.ae.
Image Credit: Seyyed Llata