The Hope spacecraft has launched from the United Arab Emirates and is set to reach Mars, orbiting the Red Planet to study its climate.
The craft is currently travelling at over 120,000km/h (75,000mph), but a tense 30-minute period as it enters the planet’s gravitational pull will dictate the success of the mission. The 27 minute-long manoeuvre will see the spaceship disappear behind the planet – unable to be monitored from the Earth.
The probe relies on its autonomous behaviour to overcome the 190 million kilometre gap in distance between the Earth and Mars; it takes 11 minutes for a radio command to reach the craft, far too long to be adequately controlled.
Should it prove successful, Hope will study how energy moves through the Martian atmosphere. It will track the movement of hydrogen and oxygen atoms at the top of the atmosphere, as well as lofted dust which has a significant effect on the planet’s temperature.
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… to The Independent‘s live coverage of the arrival of the UAE’s Mars mission at the red planet.
Andrew Griffin9 February 2021 09:25
Adam Smith9 February 2021 09:44