"I'm starting to fall in love with this probe," @landru79 tweeted about the processed image using output from Mars Hope probe Image Credit: @landru79/Twitter

Dubai: In an “unforeseen but most welcome consequence” of the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), enthusiasts globally have been downloading image data from the Mars’ Hope probe’s imaging system and processing their own images of Mars using the high-res output from its instrument.

EMM, the first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab nation, had released its first full science data set on October 1, including data from its three instruments. These were observations made by the probe as it orbited the Red Planet between February and May.

New views

EMM science lead Hessa Al Matroushi said: “We have been very pleased seeing the Mars images captured by Hope probe being shared over Twitter by the local and international community. The diverse range of treatments of the EXI [Emirates Exploration Imager] images has opened up new views and perspectives.”

The EXI camera is capable of taking high resolution images and is being used to measure properties of water, ice and ozone in Mars’ atmosphere. EXI was developed at the University of Colorado Boulder, in collaboration with Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

More images on the way

Some 500 EXI images are included in the first data release, with thousands more expected with the next release in January 2022.

In the first ten days of the data release, around 2 terabytes of information has so far been downloaded from the Science Data Centre at the EMM website, of which 1.5 terabytes is EXI data.

Daily look at Mars

“EXI has already surpassed our expectations and its first observations have been taking place throughout the Martian cloudy season. We know that, during this time – spring and summer in the Martian northern hemisphere – a belt of clouds forms near the equator. We’re now able to see daily changes and are building a library that will allow us to measure seasonal changes in the dynamics of those cloud formations,” said Matroushi.

Keeping hope

EMM is studying the relationship between the upper layer and lower regions of the Martian atmosphere, giving the international science community full access to a holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day, through different seasons.

The Hope probe’s historic journey to the Red Planet coincides with a year of celebrations to mark the UAE’s Golden Jubilee.