The unmanned probe will leave Earth in 2020 on a mission designed to complement the science work of other missions and fill important gaps in human knowledge. Its unique orbits and instruments produce entirely new types of data on Martian climate dynamics to be shared with the global science community.
“The Emirates Mars Mission will be a great contribution to human knowledge, a milestone for Arab civilization, and a real investment for future generations. This probe represents hope for millions of young Arabs looking for a better future,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.
This data will enable scientists to build the first truly holistic models of the Martian atmosphere. Such models may help the global Mars science community to unlock more mysteries of the Red Planet, such as why its atmosphere has been decaying into space to the point that it is now too thin for liquid water to exist on the surface.
Besides deepening human knowledge about Mars, the climate models will help scientists understand changes in Earth's atmosphere over millions of years. The data will also help researchers evaluate the atmospheres of thousands of newly discovered planets far across the galaxy, to determine which have an atmosphere capable of supporting life.
The probe will orbit the Red Planet until at least 2023, with an option to extend the mission until 2025. It will send back more than 1000 GB of data to be analyzed by research teams in the UAE, and shared freely with more than 200 institutions worldwide for the benefit of thousands of space specialists.
The Emirates Mars Mission will leave behind a major legacy on Earth, because the mission is being planned and managed in the UAE by a 100% Emirati team. In this way it is designed as a catalyst for a new generation of Arab scientists and engineers, and as an anchor project for the growing science and space sectors.
Sheikh Mohammed announced that the probe would be called “Hope”, a name chosen after the Arab world was invited to submit suggestions in a public campaign.
Source: UAE Ministry of Cabinet Affairs - Prime Minister's Office