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UAE’s car-sized spacecraft lifts off to study Mars weather

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on July 20, 2020

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has, in a first-of-its-kind interplanetary mission, shot a car-sized spacecraft to Mars from the southern tip of Japan to examine the weather on the red planet, The Verge reported.

The spacecraft — Hope — took off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre. The probe will traverse space for seven months. Around February 2021, it will start orbiting around Mars to examine the planet’s weather and climate. The spacecraft will manage its speed all by itself without inputs from Earth.

The team launched the spacecraft at a time when earth and Mars came closest during their revolution around the Sun. This has been done to ensure that the mission can be successfully completed before December 2021, when the nation will mark its 50th founding anniversary.

According to Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the United States, years of dedication and hard work have paid off for the Arab people.

“Thanks to the mission’s team efforts, the UAE’s first spacecraft, which six years ago was just a concept, just an idea, is now flying into space well on its way to another planet. This is a huge accomplishment. But it’s just the beginning,” The Verge report quoted Otaiba as saying.

July is reserved for all space expeditions. After the UAE, two countries’ spacecraft are also in the pipeline. China will launch a Martian orbiter, a lander, and a rover to Mars around July 23.

NASA is set to launch its Perseverance rover for orbiting Mars in order to examine earlier civilisations and habitability, NASA mentioned on its website.

Published on July 20, 2020

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