Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope Probe is studying the environment of Mars and serves as a stepping stone for UAE’s long-term space goals. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) has shared new observations conducted by the Hope Probe about Martian atmosphere, in its third batch of scientific data collected by the probe’s instruments during its mission in Martian orbit, between September 1 and November 30 last year.

The data from the third batch included more than 57 gigabytes of information, images and data about the Red Planet’s atmosphere, making the total data released by the Hope Probe equivalent to 827.7 gigabytes.

Images from the Hope Probe’s instruments can be accessed on the Emirates Mars Mission’s website.

High-density clouds

Within the data, a special high-cadence imagery observation took place, using the Emirates Exploration Imager (EXI) camera. The observation was meant to capture motion and evolution in the atmosphere, where it observed high-density clouds on November 22 last year.

According to EMM, during the period in which the third batch of data was collected, the Mars Solar Conjunction phase took place, which paused communication, scientific observations and data collection. “This was due to the blocked line-of-sight communication between Earth and the missions around Mars, with Earth and Mars being on the opposite sides of the Sun. During this phase, which happens almost every two years, the Sun emits hot, ionised gas, which interferes with radio signals when communicating with the Hope Probe. As soon as the phase was over, Mars’ orbital motion around the Sun allowed the Hope Probe to regain its communication,” EMM explained.

Data sharing

Omran Sharaf, the EMM project director, said: “Publishing the data and images captured by the Hope Probe and sharing them with the global scientific community reflects the UAE’s commitment to supporting scientific progress in the field of space and related sciences.”

Continuing mission

Sharaf added: “Hope Probe is continuing its planned mission to orbit around Mars perfectly. The efficiency and high quality of the Probe, manufactured under Emirati and international expertise, is the culmination of years of advances and progresses in manufacturing satellites, in accordance with world-class engineering and industrial standards.”

Hessa Al Matroushi, the EMM Science Lead, said: “It is very exciting to check the most recent coverage of the Mars Hope Probe. Every data downlink we receive provides us with additional insights on Mars and its atmosphere. This supports the mission’s objectives of providing useful scientific data, as well as enhancing our national capabilities, and fostering global collaboration.”

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First Arab interplanetary exploration

EMM is the first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab nation. Hope Probe was launched from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre (TNSC) on July 20, 2020. It arrived successfully in orbit around Mars on February 9, 2021, after travelling for more than 490 million kilometres from Earth for seven months.