Hope Mars Mission
Artist rendering of the Hope Mars probe.
|Mission type||Mars orbiter|
|Operator||Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre|
|Mission duration||From 2021 to 2023 (nominal)|
|Launch mass||1,500 kg|
|Dimensions||2.37 m x 2.9 m|
|Power||1,800 W from three solar panels|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||July 2020|
|Launch site||Tanegashima LA-Y1 (Japan)|
|Periareon||22,000 km |
|Apoareon||44,000 km |
|Period||55 h |
|EXI (Emirates eXploration Imager), EMIRS (Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer), EMUS (Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer)|
The Hope Mars Mission (Arabic: مسبار الأمل) also called Emirates Mars Mission, is a space exploration probe mission to Mars built by the United Arab Emirates and set for launch in 2020. Upon launch, it will become the first mission to Mars by any Arab or Muslim majority country. The probe will study the climate daily and through seasonal cycles, the weather events in the lower atmosphere such as dust storms, as well as the weather on Mars different geographic areas. The probe will attempt to answer the scientific community questions of why Mars atmosphere is losing hydrogen and oxygen into space and the reason behind Mars drastic climate changes.
The mission is being carried out by a team of Emirati engineers in collaboration with foreign research institutions, and is a contribution towards a knowledge-based economy in the UAE. The probe has been named Hope or Al-Amal (Arabic: اللأمل) and it is scheduled to reach Mars in 2021, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates' formation.
The mission was announced by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, in July 2014, and is aimed at enriching the capabilities of Emirati engineers and increasing human knowledge about the Martian atmosphere. The spacecraft orbiter is a planned uncrewed mission to Mars to study the Martian atmosphere and climate. The Hope probe is expected to be launched from Japan in the summer of 2020 and it will take seven to nine months to arrive at Mars.
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 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 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. 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.
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.
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. The project manager is Omran Sharaf. The resulting mission data will be shared freely with more than 200 institutions worldwide.
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.
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. Six 120-Newton thrusters will control the speed of the probe; and eight 5-Newton Reaction control system (RCS) thrusters will be responsible for the delicate maneuvering.
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. It is planned that its instruments will help build "holistic models" of the Martian atmosphere. The data is expected to provide additional data on the escape of the atmosphere to outer space. 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 profile, 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.
The Emirates Mars Mission is regarded as an investment in UAE's economy and human capital. H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum mentioned three messages when he announced the mission: "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."
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. Project manager Omran Sharaf said that the mission is on track to launch in July 2020. The 2020 International Astronautical Congress is to be held in Dubai, days after the expected launch of the Hope Mars Mission.
The scientific objectives for the Hope Mars Mission, as agreed upon by the global Mars science community, are aimed at providing a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere. The probe will study the climate daily and through seasonal cycles, the weather events in the lower atmosphere such as dust storms, as well as the weather on Mars different geographic areas. According to the Hope Mars Mission team, the probe will be Mars "first true weather satellite".
The Hope probe will also 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. Data from the Hope probe will also help to model the Earth's atmosphere and study its evolution over millions of years.
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.
The robotic probe to be sent to Mars under the Emirates Mars Mission has been named 'Hope' or Al-Amal (Arabic: مسبار الأمل), as it is intended to send out a message of optimism to millions of Arabs across the globe and encourages them towards innovation. In April 2015, 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. The name of the probe was announced in May 2015 and since, then the mission is sometimes referred to as the ‘Hope Mars Mission’. In April 2019, the probe was announced by MBRSC to be 85% complete.
The Hope probe will be hexagonal in shape, built from aluminium in honeycomb structure with a composite face-sheet. With an approximate mass of 1,500 kg including the propellant, the overall size and dimensions of the probe will be comparable to a small car.
- Dimensions: 2.37 m wide and 2.90 m in length
- Mass: approximately 1,500 kg (3,300 lb)
- Power: 1,800 W from three solar panels
For the purpose of communication, the probe uses a high-gain antenna 1.5 m in diameter. 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.
It will be equipped with six 120-Newton thrusters and eight 5-Newton Reaction control system (RCS) thrusters. The function of the six delta V thrusters is velocity management, while the RCS thrusters will be used for delicate manoeuvring. 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.
To achieve the scientific objectives of the mission, the Hope probe will be equipped with three scientific instruments.
- Emirates eXploration imager (EXI), is a multi-band, camera capable of taking 12 megapixel images for a spatial resolution of better than 8 km. It uses a selector wheel mechanism consisting of 6 discrete bandpass filters to sample the optical spectral region: 3 UV bands and 3 visible (RGB) bands. EXI measures properties of water, ice, dust, aerosols and abundance of ozone in Mars' atmosphere. The instrument is being developed at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado, in collaboration with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) at Dubai, UAE.
- Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), is a far-ultraviolet imaging spectrograph that measures emissions in the spectral range 100-170 nm to measure global characteristics and variability of thermosphere, hydrogen, and oxygen coronae. Design and development is lead by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder.
- Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS), is an interferometric thermal infrared spectrometer developed by the Arizona State University (ASU) and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). It examines temperature profiles, ice, water vapour and dust in the atmosphere. EMIRS will provide a view of the lower and middle atmosphere. Development is lead by the Arizona State University with support from MBRSC.
The rocket will be launched during a brief launch window in July 2020. If the launch opportunity is missed, the mission would have to wait two years for the next window. The spacecraft will be launched from Japan using a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA launcher, and is set to arrive at Mars in 2021.
The mission team 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.
Sarah Amiri is the Deputy Project Manager and the Lead Science Investigator, who leads the team in developing the mission's objectives and aligning programmes related to instrumentation of the Hope probe. The mission has been referred to as having the potential to make a long-lasting contribution to the economy of the United Arab Emirates.
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