The United Arab Emirates’ first mission to Mars, the “Hope” probe is set to reach the Red Planet’s orbit today. Currently moving at over 120,000km/h (75,000mph), it must fire its braking engines for 27 minutes to be sure of being captured by the planet’s gravity.
“Only 1 day separating us from witnessing the dream of a nation enter the dark 27 minutes that determine our future and our fate. We hope for Hope as it gets closer to being captured into Mars’ orbit,” the official Hope Mars Mission Twitter handle said on Monday.
According to the mission statement, the Hope probe which is officially called the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) is designed to orbit Mars and study the dynamics in the Martian atmosphere on a global scale, and on both diurnal and seasonal timescales.
Mission control at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) in Dubai will have some data streaming back on the performance of Hope’s thrusters, but there is nothing anyone can do to intervene if something goes awry.
Hope is the first of three missions to arrive at the Red Planet this month. On Wednesday, the Chinese Tianwen-1 orbiter will also try to make it into orbit, while the Americans turn up on the 18th with another big rover.