Words By Georgia Keetch

The first out of three robotic probes have arrived on Mars; with it aptly being named ‘Hope’. This marks the first interplanetary mission by an Arab Nation.

On Tuesday at 7:42 p.m. in the U.A.E. — 15:42 GMT — controllers at the mission operations centre in Dubai received word from the spacecraft that it had started to slow itself down and allow it to fall into the gravity of Mars.  

Project manager Omran Sharaf said that “From the U.A.E Governments perspective, basically 90% of this mission has been achieved successfully”. He also said that once the spacecraft is in orbit, it can begin to study the Red Planet’s weather and atmosphere.When the spacecraft arrived, the Hope Probe marked the UAE as only the fifth country in history to reach the red planet and a first for the Arab world. The ambitions of the mission don’t stop there.

Due to the delay in communication from Mars to Earth, it had started to slow down 11-minutes earlier; meaning if anything was to go wrong it would have been too late.

The goal of the whole mission is to spend 2 years analysing how weather conditions such as dust storms affect the speed at which the air on Mars is leaking into outer space.This information will provide scientists with an idea of what climate dynamics and weather are like in different layers of the Martian atmosphere. Together, this will shed light on how energy and particles, like oxygen and hydrogen, move through the atmosphere and how they even escape Mars.

Hope will take up an orbit that stands off from the planet at a distance of 22,000km to 44,000km; which means we will get facinating and never seen before images of the whole of Mars on a routine basis.

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