Hope Mars Mission

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Hope Mars Mission
Mission type Mars orbiter
Operator Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre
Website www.emm.ae
Mission duration From 2021 to 2023 (nominal).[1]
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre
Launch mass 1500 kg
Dimensions 2.37 m x 2.9 m
Power 3 600 W Solar Panels
Start of mission
Launch date July 2020[2]
Rocket H-IIA[3]
Launch site Tanegashima LA-Y1
Contractor MHI[3]
Orbital parameters
Periareon 22,000 km [4]
Apoareon 44,000 km [4]
Period 55 h [4]
Epoch Planned
Mars orbiter
Orbital insertion 2021[2]
EXI (Emirates eXploration Imager), EMIRS (Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer), EMUS (Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer)

The Hope Mars Mission or Emirates Mars Mission (Arabic: مسبار الأمل‎) is a space exploration probe mission to Mars, set to be launched by the United Arab Emirates in 2020. Upon launch, it will become the first mission to Mars by any Arab or Muslim country. The mission was announced by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, in July 2014,[5] and is aimed at enriching the capabilities of Emirati engineers and increasing human knowledge about the Martian atmosphere.[6] The mission is being carried out by a team composed solely of Emirati engineers, and is a contribution towards a knowledge-based economy in the UAE.[7]

Under the Emirates Mars Mission, the United Arab Emirates will send an uncrewed probe to Mars by 2020. The probe has been named Hope probe or 'Al-Amal' and it is scheduled to reach Mars in 2021, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates' formation.[8]

To accomplish the objectives of the Emirates Mars Mission, an agreement was signed between the UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), under a directive given by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.[9] As per the agreement, the Emirates Mars Mission will be funded by the UAE Space Agency and it will also supervise the complete execution process for the Hope probe. The agreement outlines the financial and legal framework along with assigning a timeline for the entire project.[5]

Under the agreement, MBRSC has been commissioned for the design and manufacture of the Hope probe. A team of more than 150 Emirati engineers at MBRSC are currently working on the probe and related aspects of the mission.[5]


This spacecraft orbiter is a planned uncrewed mission to Mars by the United Arab Emirates to study the Martian atmosphere and climate.[10][11][12] The Hope probe is expected to be launched in the summer of 2020 and it will take seven to nine months to arrive at Mars.[13][10] In designing the orbiter, the Emirates Mars Mission deputy project manager and science lead, Sarah Al Amiri, is expected to collaborate with the University of Colorado, the University of California, Berkeley and the Arizona State University.[11][12][14]

The name Hope (Arabic: al-Amal) was chosen because "it sends a message of optimism to millions of young Arabs", according to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of the emirate of Dubai for whom the lead space center, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), of the United Arab Emirates, is named.[12] The project manager is Omran Sharaf.[12] The resulting mission data will be shared freely with more than 200 institutions worldwide.[15]

The Emirates Mars Mission team includes 150 Emirati engineers, with Omran Sharaf as the Project Manager; Sarah Amiri, Deputy Project Manager; Ibrahim Hamza Al Qasim, Deputy Project Manager, Strategic Planning, and Zakareyya Al Shamsi, Deputy Project Manager for the Operations.[16]

The spacecraft will be launched from Japan using a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA launcher.[3]

The Hope probe will be compact and hexagonal in shape and structure, with a mass of approximately 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) including fuel. The probe will be 2.37 m wide and 2.90 m tall, the overall size being approximately equivalent to a small car. Hope will use three 600-watt solar panels to charge its batteries and it will communicate with Earth using a high-gain antenna with a 1.5 m wide dish. The spacecraft will also be equipped with star tracker sensors that will help determine its position in space by identifying the constellations in relation to the Sun. Two sets of rocket thrusters and four to six large Delta-v thrusters, will control the speed of the probe; and eight to 12 small Reaction control system (RCS) thrusters will be responsible for the delicate maneuvering.[17]

The expected travel time of the Hope probe is about 200 days at a speed of up to 40,000 km/h on its journey of 60 million kilometres. Upon arrival at Mars, it will study the atmosphere of Mars for two years. Its unique placement in orbit around Mars will provide a new type of data to build "holistic models" of the Martian atmosphere. The data is expected to provide additional data on the escape of the atmosphere to a level where it is now too thin to allow liquid water to exist.[18] The Hope probe will carry three scientific instruments to study the Martian atmosphere, which include a digital camera for high resolution coloured images, an infrared spectrometer that will examine the temperature patterns, ice, water vapors in the atmosphere, and an ultraviolet spectrometer that will study the upper atmosphere and traces of oxygen and hydrogen further out into space.[19]

As of 2015, the conceptual instrument payload is:[4]

  • Emirates Exploration Imager (EXI), to measure properties of water ice, dust aerosols and quantify ozone (O3) in the atmosphere.
  • Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), to measure global characteristics and variability of the thermosphere, and hydrogen and oxygen coronae.
  • Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS), to measure global thermal structure and abundance of water ice, water vapor and dust in the atmosphere.

A prototype of the Hope spacecraft was displayed at the Dubai Airshow in November 2017. The prototype is a model built to give a general idea of what the spacecraft will look like.[20] Project manager Omran Sharaf said that the mission is on track to launch in July 2020.[21]

Scientific objectives[edit]

The scientific objectives for the Emirates Mars Mission, as agreed upon by the global Mars science community, are aimed at providing a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere.[22]

The Hope probe will study the atmospheric layers of Mars in detail and will provide data to study: the reason for a drastic climatic change in the Martian atmosphere from the time it could sustain liquid water to today, when the atmosphere is so thin that water can only exist as ice or vapour, to help understand how and why Mars is losing its hydrogen and oxygen into space, and the connection between the upper and lower levels of the Martian atmosphere.[22] Data from the Hope probe will also help to model the Earth's atmosphere and study its evolution over millions of years.[23]

All data gained from the mission will be made available to 200 universities and research institutes across the globe for the purpose of knowledge sharing.[23]

The probe will also serve research on the possibility of cultivating date palm and lettuce on the planet Mars, according to Emirati researcher Salem Al Ketbi.[24]

Societal importance[edit]

The United Arab Emirates leadership regards the Emirates Mars Mission as an investment in UAE's economy and human capital. H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum attached three important messages with the mission when he announced it: “The first message is for the world: that Arab civilisation once played a great role in contributing to human knowledge, and will play that role again; the second message is to our Arab brethren: that nothing is impossible, and that we can compete with the greatest of nations in the race for knowledge and the third message is for those who strive to reach the highest of peaks: set no limits to your ambitions, and you can reach even to space.”[23]

The 2020 International Astronautical Congress is to be held in Dubai, days after the expected launch of the Hope Mars Mission.[25]

The probe[edit]

The uncrewed probe to be sent to Mars under the Emirates Mars Mission has been named 'Hope' or Al-Amal in Arabic (Arabic: مسبار الأمل‎), as it sends out a message of optimism to millions of Arabs across the globe and encourages them towards innovation.[26] In April 2015, H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid invited the Arab world to name the probe. The name was selected after receiving thousands of suggestions, as it describes the core objective of the mission.[27] The name of the probe was announced in May 2015 and since, then the mission is sometimes referred to as the ‘Hope Mars Mission’.[27]


The Hope probe will be hexagonal in shape, built from aluminium in a stiff yet lightweight honeycomb structure with a composite face-sheet. With an approximate mass of 1500 kg including the fuel, the overall size and dimensions of the probe will be comparable to a small car.[28]

  • Dimensions: The probe will be 2.37 m wide and 2.90 m in length
  • Mass: Approximate mass of the probe will be 1500 kg
  • Power: The craft will charge its batteries using 600-watt solar panels. The solar panel arrays will be folded at the time of the launch and they’ll unfold once the probe is in orbit [28]

For the purpose of communication, a high-gain antenna with a 1.5 m wide dish will be used by the probe. This antenna will produce a narrow radio-wave that must point towards the Earth. There will also be low-gain antennas in the structure of the probe that will be less directional as compared to the high-gain antenna.[28]

The probe will also have star trackers to help it determine its position in space by studying the constellations in relation to the Sun.[28]

It will be equipped with two sets of rocket thrusters, which include four to six large Delta V thrusters and eight to 12 small Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters. The function of the Delta V thrusters will be speed management, slowing down the probe or speeding it up as per requirements, while the RCS thrusters will be used for delicate manoeuvring.[28] The reaction wheels within the probe will allow it to reorient itself while travelling through the space, helping it point its antenna towards Earth or point any scientific instrument towards Mars.[28]

Scientific instruments[edit]

To achieve the scientific objectives of the Emirates Mars Mission, the Hope probe will be equipped with three scientific instruments.[28]

  • Emirates eXploration imager (EXI): Measures properties of water, ice, dust, aerosols and abundance of ozone in Mars' atmosphere.
  • Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS): Measures global characteristics & variability of thermosphere and hydrogen & oxygen coronae.
  • Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS): Examines temperature patterns, ice, water vapour and dust in the atmosphere.[28]

Launch window[edit]

The Emirates Mars Mission probe is set to arrive at Mars in 2021. In order to achieve this, the rocket must be launched during a brief launch window in July 2020. This is important because the Earth and Mars will be aligned to allow the most efficient (or minimum energy) transfer between the Earth and Mars. This alignment occurs every twenty-six months, therefore if this launch time is missed the Emirates Mars Mission will have to wait for the next alignment of Earth and Mars.[29]


The team of the Emirates Mars Mission is divided into seven groups including Spacecraft, Logistics, Mission Operations, Project Management, Science Education & Outreach, Ground Station and Launch Vehicle. The team is headed by Omran Sharaf, who acts as the Project Manager and is responsible for managing and supporting the ongoing tasks related to the Emirates Mars Mission.[30]

Sarah Amiri is the Deputy Project Manager & the Lead Science Investigator, who leads the team in developing the Emirates Mars Mission’s objectives and aligning programmes related to instrumentation of the Hope probe.[30] The Mission has been referred to as having the potential to make a long-lasting contribution to the economy of the United Arab Emirates.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Journey of Emirates Mars Mission". 
  2. ^ a b Staff (May 6, 2015). "Emirates Mars Mission - Video (05:51)". Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC). Retrieved May 7, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c @HopeMarsMission (22 March 2016). "The #EmiratesMarsMission team would like to announce the choosing of #MHI as #Hope's launch provider in #2020" (Tweet). Retrieved 22 March 2016 – via Twitter. 
  4. ^ a b c d Staff (May 7, 2015). "UAE Unveils Mission Plan for the First Arab Space Probe to Mars". Ministry of Cabinet Affairs. SpaceRef. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "Majarat Magazine". 
  6. ^ "Emirates Mars Mission Website". 
  7. ^ "UAE positions 2020 Mars Probe as catalyst for a new generation of Arab scientists & engineers". 
  8. ^ "United Arab Emirates leads way with planned mission to Mars". 
  9. ^ "Emirates Mars Mission - UAE's First Step". 
  10. ^ a b Shreck, Adam (May 6, 2015). "UAE to explore Mars' atmosphere with probe named 'Hope'". AP News. Retrieved May 7, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Jones, Rory; Parasie, Nicolas (May 7, 2015). "U.A.E. Plans to Launch Mars Probe - Scientists behind Emirati orbiter 'Hope' aim to collect data on the Red Planet". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 7, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c d Berger, Brian (May 6, 2015). "UAE Unveils Science Goals for 'Hope' Mars Probe". SpaceNews. Retrieved May 7, 2015. 
  13. ^ Hope probe
  14. ^ Bell, Jennifer (April 9, 2015). "UAE and France join hands on space". The National (Abu Dhabi). Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  15. ^ Staff (May 7, 2015). "UAE unveils mission plan 'Hope' for first Arab space probe to Mars". Khaleej Times. Retrieved May 7, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Emirates Mars Mission - Mars Team". 
  17. ^ "Emirates Mars Mission - Mars Probe". 
  18. ^ "Gulf News - UAE unveils details of UAE Mars Mission". May 2015. 
  19. ^ "The National UAE - UAE Mars Mission has a name 'Hope'". May 2015. 
  20. ^ Sarwat Nasir (2017-11-12). "Dubai airshow unveils Hope spacecraft prototype". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  21. ^ Imogen Lillywhite (2017-11-13). "Dubai Airshow: Emirates Mars mission on track for 2020 launch". Zawya. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  22. ^ a b "EMM - Scientific Goals". 
  23. ^ a b c "UAE unveils details of UAE Mars Mission". 
  24. ^ News, Salem Al Ketbi, Special to Gulf (2017-11-27). "In the UAE, the future begins now". GulfNews. Retrieved 2018-01-21. 
  25. ^ Haneen Dajani (2017-09-29). "Dubai wins bid to host the 2020 International Astronautical Congress". The National. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  26. ^ "Mashable - UAE Hope Mars Mission". 
  27. ^ a b "Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum asks UAE residents to name Mars probe". 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h "Emirates Mars Mission - Mars Probe Specifications". 
  29. ^ a b "Emirates Mars Mission, official website". 
  30. ^ a b "The team of Emirates Mars Mission". 

External links[edit]