The United Arab Emirates’ Mars probe has begun its two-year data-gathering mission from the red planet.
Hope Probe will examine the make-up of the different layers of Mars’ atmosphere using a combination of visible-light, infrared, and ultraviolet cameras.
The news was announced on Twitter on Sunday by Sarah al-Amiri, the UAE’s Minster of State for Advanced Technology.
Since April 14, the probe has been calibrating its instruments to prepare to gather data.
It left Earth from Tanegashima island in Japan on July 20, 2020 and reached Mars’ orbit 493.5 million kilometers away on February 9 2021.
The probe survived a risky maneuver to enter a second, slower orbit on March 29, allowing it to begin its main objective of gathering images of the atmosphere.
It aims to measure the depth of surface ice; levels of carbon monoxide and oxygen in the atmosphere; and distribution of dust, ice clouds, water vapors, and temperatures in the lower atmosphere.
The elliptical orbit of the Hope Probe enables a high resolution image of the entire planet to be taken each 225 hours (9.5 days).