India was the first Asian country and the fourth one globally to join the exclusive club of nations that have reached Mars alongside the US, Russia, and the European Space Agency. With its indigenously made unmanned spacecraft, India became the first nation in the world to successfully reach the red planet on its first attempt in 2014.
Now UAE is ready to become the first Arab nation to launch a mars mission. The UAE’s Hope Probe is expected to give crucial inputs to India’s next Mars mission.
“Data from Hope Probe on the transport of dust and its large-scale movements on Mars and results on the loss of volatiles from there will be an important input as India finalizes its plans for the next Indian mission to Mars. This will also open up new avenues of cooperation between both nations” said R. Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary at ISRO.
The first interplanetary mission from the Arab World will travel 493.5 million km over seven months to reach Mars’ orbit in February 2021, coinciding with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations to mark the historic union of the Emirates.
“The global coverage this mission provides will complement very well the high-resolution but restricted field-of-view studies carried out by the other contemporary Mars missions [including that of India],” Umamaheswaran pointed out.
He made these comments as the UAE is preparing to launch the Hope Probe from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre during a three-week-long window ending 3rd August. Weather conditions caused a delay to the scheduled launch twice – 14th and 17th July.
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM, though a technology demonstrator, carried a camera to provide a synoptic view of Mars in the optical band.
‘The Hope Probe will have the first holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day and various seasons, and the global scientific community will get such data for the first time,” said Omran Sharaf, Project Manager of Emirates Mars Mission.
The Indian scientist lauded this advanced project. “ISRO congratulates the UAE for undertaking this major mission as part of its rapidly advancing space program,” said Umamaheswaran who has made significant contributions to ISRO’s three launch vehicles such as Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV, and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles, GSLV and GSLV-MkIII.
The US$200 million worth Hope Probe is considered among the cheapest in the world, compared to similar programs, according to Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs.
To keep updated on the Emirates Mars Mission, follow their official website here.