UAE Hope Probe beams its first image of the Red Planet home

The UAE is celebrating its very first Mars probe sending back its very first image of the Red Planet as it enters orbit. The image the probe sent back to earth, seen below, was shared via Twitter by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. In a tweet, the Sheik wrote that the transmission of the Hope Probe's first image of Mars was a defining moment in history and marks the UAE joining advanced nations involved in space exploration.

The Sheikh said that the nation hopes the mission leads to new discoveries about Mars that benefit humanity. The Hope Probe launched on July 20, 2020, at 12:58 AM from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. After launch, the cruising distance for the probe was 493.5 million kilometers, and Hope Probe's official website lists its distance from Mars currently as 48,022 kilometers. The probe is traveling over 85,000 miles per hour.

The three objectives of the probe are to obtain the first complete picture of the Martian atmosphere. The first is to understand climate dynamics and global weather map through the characterization of the lower atmosphere of Mars. The second is to explain how weather changes the escape of hydrogen and oxygen by correlating conditions in both the lower and upper atmospheres.

The third objective is to understand the structure and variability of hydrogen and oxygen in Mars' upper atmosphere while defying why Mars is losing both hydrogen and oxygen to space. Over eons, Mars has gone from a planet believed to have had a thick atmosphere in liquid water on the surface to being a dry world with an extremely thin atmosphere.

Hope Probe weighed 1350 kilograms, including its fuel at launch. It communicates with Earth using a 1.85M antenna and is powered by 600-watt solar panels charging internal batteries. With the solar panels deployed, the probe measures 3M x 7.9M.