Dubai: The UAE Space Agency and Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) on Monday announced that 85 per cent of the Hope probe project, the spacecraft for the Emirates Mars Mission, is now complete.
In a joint statement, the two organisations confirmed that most of the main parts of the project have been completed and are currently undergoing intensive testing with less than 500 days are remaining for the launch. The probe is scheduled to reach Mars by 2021, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s formation.
Several aspects related to the design, assembly, cameras and control have been verified. So far, the probe’s systems and components, as well as its ability to communicate with the ground station have been checked. The probe has cleared all the tests ahead of the five environmental tests to be conducted from June to December.
The scientific devices the probe will be using, including the Emirates eXploration imager (EXI), Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), and the Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS), are ready.
The EMUS has been successfully mounted on the probe.
Dr Ahmad Bel Houl Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope Probe is almost complete. The UAE is on the verge of making history, after turning its dream of becoming the first Arabic and Islamic country to send a spacecraft to Mars into reality. This monumental endeavour is the culmination of the efforts of a skilled and experienced team of young Emiratis, who with the support of the nation and its visionary leadership will secure the UAE’s position at the forefront of space exploration and the international space sector.”
Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, director-general of MBRSC, said: “Completing 85 per cent of the Hope Probe in this short period was a great challenge that we overcame through the guidance of our wise leadership and the efforts of our youth. The UAE has reached an advanced stage in achieving our wise leadership’s vision to reach the Mars orbit in December 2021.”
What is the Hope probe?
It is a small unmanned spacecraft weighing around 1.5 tonnes with fuel, about the size and weight of a small car.
Mission: A deeper understanding of the Martian atmosphere, and the study of climate change and its relationship to atmospheric erosion, which was one of the reasons for the disappearance of liquid water from the surface of the planet.
■ Imager: A digital camera that will send back high-resolution colour images.
■ Infra-red spectrometer: It will examine temperature patterns, ice, water vapour and dust in the atmosphere.
■ Ultraviolet spectrometer: It will study the upper atmosphere and traces of oxygen and hydrogen further out into space.