THE UNITED Arab Emirates’ ‘Hope’ probe has sent back its first pictures of mars as it orbits the planet.
And the image shows the largest volcano in the solar system – The Olympus Mons – after the spacecraft bet NASA and China to Mars.
‘Hope’ probe has sent back its first pictures of mars as it orbits the planetCredit: EPA
The Hope probe is now orbiting MarsCredit: AP:Associated Press
The picture was taken from an altitude of 15,300 above the martian surface on Wednesday.
In the upper left of the image the north pole of Mars can be seen.
Meanwhile in the centre Olympus Mons is emerging into the early morning sunlight.
Three other volcanoes named Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons and Arsia Mons, are also visible.
Many more similar pictures will soon follow as the spacecraft studies the planet’s weather and climate systems.
UAE prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum posted the photo on Twitter.
He captioned it: “The first picture of Mars captured by the first-ever Arab probe in history.”
It comes as Hope bet out other missions, by the US and China that are also heading for the Red Planet.
The three countries all launched their projects last July when Mars‘s orbit brought it close to Earth.
Hope will orbit Mars and observe things like the weather
The Hope probe on Earth before it was blasted into space in July 2020Credit: PA:Press Association
Hope’s success has always aimed to coincide with the 50th anniversary year of the UAE which formed in 1971.
It launched on July 19, 2020 at around 10pm UTC.
The entire project is led by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.
But scientists working on the mission have collaborated with a number of other academic organisations in the US.
Unlike the US and China missions, no part of the UAE Hope orbiter will touch down on the surface of Mars.
Instead it will remain in orbit around the Red Planet to make various measurements.
It will study the daily and seasonal cycles of weather, and how the climate of Mars is changing more generally.
You can watch live commentary on the Emirates Mars Mission website.
Here’s what you need to know about the red planet…
- Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun
- It is named after the Roman god of war
- The landmass of Mars is very similar to Earth but due to the difference in gravity you could jump three times higher there than you can here
- Mars is mountainous and hosts the tallest mountain known in the Solar System called Olympus Mons, which is three times higher than Everest
- Mars is considered to be the second most habitable planet after Earth
- It takes the planet 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun
- So far, there has been 39 missions to Mars but only 16 of these have been successful
In other space news, Elon Musk is plotting to launch a phone network using satellites operated by his aerospace company, SpaceX.
Four Supermoons will be gracing the night sky in 2021.
And, a Full Moon could be giving you a worse night’s sleep, according to a new study.
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