BOULDER, CO (KCNC) — The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder celebrated the upcoming arrival of the Emirates Mars Mission to the planet’s orbit early next month with their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, excited about the knowledge they could gain from the Hope space probe. LASP worked with the UAE Space Agency to build the spacecraft.
“This team seems to be a lot like our team, we thought the same,” said Sarah Al Amiri, the chairperson of the UAE Space Agency and the UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology. “We came from two different parts of the world, but we thought the same.”
The EMM is set to enter Mars orbit on Feb. 9 around 8:30 a.m. MT. On a video conference call, the team said they should get information sent back to them from the Hope probe 15 minutes after that entry. It’s a project they have worked on together for six years, the spacecraft launched from Earth last July.
“It’s really important to have people talking and communicating and that’s really hard to do when half of your team is sleeping,” said Pete Withnell, the program manager for the Emirates Mars Mission at LASP.
The mission hopes to give researchers a complete view of the red planet by studying the atmosphere and the loss of gases in the span of a Martian year. State-of-the-art science instruments were designed to investigate different aspects of Mars. LASP developed the Hope space probe with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre.
“Anything that one attempts to do in space is hard, it’s just really hard,” he said. “It is no small feat to navigate a spacecraft across deep safe.”
LASP started in 1948, a decade before NASA, and is the only research institute to have sent instruments to all eight planets and Pluto in the solar system.
EMM is the first Arab mission to another planet and the Hope Probe is set to reach Mars orbit as the country celebrates its Golden Jubilee. The unified effort between those in the U.S. and the UAE acknowledges their differences but say they have a common purpose in this endeavor.
“It’s a great time to observe a lot of these things happening,” Al Amiri said.
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