A New Spacecraft Will be Launched Towards Mars This Summer

In Tanegashima, Japan, a spacecraft named Hope is being prepared for its launch towards Mars.

If all goes to plan, the UAE's Mars Hope Probe (or "Al Amal" in Arabic) will blast off this summer, reaching the Red Planet in February 2021.   Not only will the arrival of the 1,350-kilogram probe coincide with celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the UAE, but it will also mark the first time the country orbits Mars.   Hope's scientists, from Dubai's Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), plan to send the craft into space at the same time as NASA's Perseverance Rover and China's first Mars mission, Tianwen 1. They are aiming to launch during the biennial window, when Earth and Mars are closest together, starting in July 2020 and going into early August.   Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) team to adjust plans, it says it is still on track to launch on schedule.   To help build the spacecraft, the EMM team partnered with a team in the US, at the University of Colorado Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.   "Mars is risky and Mars is difficult," Omran Sharaf, EMM Mission Lead says. "The mission was five times more complex than missions we have worked on before."   The Hope Probe is one of several space projects Dubai's MBRSC has been working on in recent years, including the launch of two satellites, sending the first Emirati into space and the ambitious goal to build a human settlement on Mars by 2117.   To find a novel science objective for Hope's upcoming mission, EMM scientists consulted the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG), a forum created by NASA to plan explorations of Mars.   Mystery Rocket was Launched in Space this Sunday   EMM's Science Lead,...

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