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20 July 2024

European Space Agency says Hope Probe’s findings on global dust storms important for future human missions

Photo: WAM


The UAE’s Mars Mission, Hope Probe, is expected to give a better understanding of the global dust storms, which will be crucial for future human missions to Mars, according to the European Space Agency, ESA.

"The Hope Probe will be a major contribution to the Mars science community," the ESA said in a statement issued to Emirates News Agency, WAM.

The agency’s comments came ahead of the Hope Probe’s launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre during a three-week long window ending 3rd August, possibly between 20th and 22nd July. Weather conditions caused a delay to the scheduled launch twice – 14th and 17th July.

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 union of the Emirates.

The ESA is one among the four space agencies that have successfully made it to Mars, along with National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, of the US, the former Soviet Union space programme, and Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO.

Mars Express, launched by ESA in December 2003, has been orbiting the Red Planet for past 17 years.

Schiaparelli, a technology demonstration vehicle carried by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, TGO, were launched in 2016, as part of the ExoMars programme, a joint endeavour between Russia’s Roscosmos State Corporation and the ESA. They have postponed the 2020 launch of the second ExoMars mission to the Red Planet to 2022 due to certain technical reasons.

The ESA told WAM that the Hope Probe’s findings would complement the data from Mars Express and TGO, by giving the bigger picture on Mars atmospheric dynamics, in order to comprehend how Mars lost most of its atmosphere, compared to the Earth.

The Hope Probe will have the first holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day and various seasons, and global scientific community will get such a data for the first time.

The ESA added that "a better understanding of the global dust storms will be crucial for future human missions."

For the UAE, the Hope Probe is the first step towards its ambitious project to build the first human settlement on Mars by 2117, in collaboration with major international space institutions.

The ESA has maintained that the search for life is a major element of all present and future Mars missions. "Ultimately, though, Mars exploration plans should result in an even greater adventure - a human mission. For a human Mars expedition to be possible, new technologies will have to be developed and tested," according to an article published on ESA website.

"A human Mars mission, perhaps with the Moon as a first target or even as a way station to the Red Planet, would represent the culmination of the programme's efforts. And just incidentally, it would also guarantee that there was life on Mars: human life," said the article.

The ESA statement noted the existing ties with the UAE and future collaboration. "Following our good cooperation for the training of the UAE astronauts, we are looking forward for potential collaboration on robotic missions as well."