The UAE’s Hope Probe symbolizes the Middle East’s surge in the space race, by joining American and Chinese spacecraft. The Emirates Mars Mission has documented changes on Mars in the past year, including dust storms and thick clouds. But, the Hope Probe covers one aspect of the vast red planet and needs to work with its counterparts to study Mars in its entirety.
This is why, the Emirates Mars Mission is set to collaborate with NASA’s MAVEN Mars Mission to share and analyse data. MAVEN currently tracks climatic changes on Mars by focusing on its upper atmosphere and ionosphere. On the other hand, the UAE’s Hope Probe collects information about the planet’s lower atmosphere. It observes how upper and lower parts of the Martian atmosphere affect each other during different seasons.
Combining MAVEN and Hope Probe data reveals how gas escaping from the upper atmosphere is affected by the lower atmosphere. The two space vehicles revolving around the red globe in tandem hold different pieces of a puzzle that complete the bigger picture. The EMM is driven by the objectives of the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group and follows up on MAVEN and other Mars missions.
The Hope Probe gathers information on diurnal and seasonal changes triggered on Mars due to ‘solar forcing’. This means it studies the impact of changes in solar radiation on the planet’s climate. Analysis of data from the Hope Probe can reveal atmospheric conditions that cause the release of hydrogen and oxygen from Mars.
The UAE’s spacecraft carries an Emirates Exploration Imager camera, observing water ice and ozone in the lower atmosphere. It also has an infrared spectrometer to look for dust, ice cloud, and vapor. Another gadget is the UV spectrometer which measures the presence of oxygen and carbon monoxide in the thermosphere.
These data sets sent back to the MBR Space Centre in Dubai will be combined with information NASA gets from MAVEN. Analyzing information on distinct parts of the Martian atmosphere will add more value to the efforts of both space missions.
Hope Probe’s successful foray into the Martian orbit has spotlighted the UAE and the Arab world’s space exploration. It has also paved the way for cross-border collaborations for interpreting cosmic data and the training of Emirati astronauts.