Hope, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) probe sent back its first image of Mars, capturing the largest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons.
UAE’s national space agency made the announcement on Sunday, days after the spacecraft successfully entered the Red Planet’s orbit. The image will be followed by many similar views of Mars as the spacecraft studies the planet’s weather and climate systems.
The picture shows the north pole of Mars in the upper left of the image. In the centre of the image, emerging into the early morning sunlight, is Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the Solar System.
From an altitude of 15,300 miles above the Martian surface on Wednesday, the image was taken a day after the probe entered the red planet’s orbit.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE prime minister and Dubai’s ruler, shared the coloured image on Twitter.
The transmission of the Hope Probe's first image of Mars is a defining moment in our history and marks the UAE joining advanced nations involved in space exploration. We hope this mission will lead to new discoveries about Mars which will benefit humanity. pic.twitter.com/TCM5yHTapH
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) February 14, 2021
‘The first picture of Mars captured by the first-ever Arab probe in history,’ he wrote.
The mission is designed to reveal the secrets of Martian weather, but the UAE also wants it to serve as an inspiration for the region’s youth.
Hope is the first of three spacecraft to arrive in Mars this month. China and the US has also launched missions in July, taking advantage of a period when the Earth and Mars are nearest.
The UAE’s venture is also timed to mark the 50th anniversary of the unification of the nation’s seven emirates. ‘Hope’ will orbit the red planet for at least one Martian year, or 687 days, using three scientific instruments to monitor the Martian atmosphere.
It is expected to begin transmitting more information back to Earth in September 2021, with the data available for scientists around the world to study. (BG/Headline PH)
Featured image: Olympus Mons, the highest volcano on Mars, and the Tharsis Montes, three volcanoes named (top to bottom) Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Arsia Mons. Handout photo via UAE Space Agency