UAE to probe Mars' atmosphere with spacecraft named 'Hope'
- First Mars mission attempted anywhere in the Arab world
- Probe will travel for about 200 days at speeds of up to 40,000kph
- Will provide a deeper understanding of the Martian atmosphere
The United Arab Emirates has unveiled plans for a 2020 mission to Mars to study the planet's atmosphere.
Called Hope, it is the first Mars mission attempted anywhere in the Arab world.
By studying the atmosphere, it is hoped scientists can gain an insight into how the vast craters and mountains ion the surface formed.
Sarah Amiri, Deputy Project Manager of a planned United Arab Emirates Mars mission talks about the project named 'Hope'
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced initial plans for the unmanned probe last year.
'One man asked me how much it cost,' Sheikh Mohammed said at the launch.
'I told him it is not a cost, it is an investment.
'Our goal here is to have a study, a laboratory and specialisations regarding gravity, galaxies and Mars.
'This is just the start.'
The unmanned Hope is expected to travel for about 200 days at speeds of up to 40,000kph on its journey of 60 million kilometres.
An invitation-only event Wednesday in Dubai was a chance for officials to unveil many of the finer details.
And they did it with a good dose of Gulf flair — soaring music and computer animations projected onto a movie screen in a chandelier-filled beachside palace.
One of the world's largest yachts, Dubai, was berthed outside.
'This mission to Mars is really for the hope of the Arab world and will send them a message to say you can be better, you can improve your country,' Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the Emirates' vice president and prime minister, told reporters after the event.
Emirati scientists said they hope the probe, which will not land on the surface of the red planet, will provide a deeper understanding of the Martian atmosphere.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, center, announces a United Arab Emirates' Mars mission named 'Hope' or 'al-Amal' in Arabic
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum talks to journalists after announcing a UAE Mars mission named 'Hope'
That includes charting changes that happen over time and gathering data on how features such as volcanoes, deserts and canyons affect it.
The plan is to launch the probe in the summer of 2020 — the year Dubai hosts the World Expo — on a journey of seven to nine months.
Engineers expect it to remain in orbit until at least 2023.
Some 75 engineers are working on the project, a number that is expected to double by 2020. The project is fully staffed by Emiratis — a rarity in a country where guest workers and other foreigners outnumber locals more than four to one.
'This is an important project because of the legacy that this project leaves ... to develop the science and technology sector,' deputy project manager Sarah Amiri said.
Officials haven't said how much it will cost.
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