The orbiter, named ‘Hope’ (Al Amal in Arabic), will spend two years (one Martian year) orbiting the red planet gathering crucial science data. An extended two-year mission is also envisioned.
The spacecraft, which is about the size of a small car, was constructed at LASP by a joint MBRSC/LASP team led by Project Director Omran Sharaf from MBRSC, Program Manager Pete Withnell from LASP, and Deputy Program Manager and Science Lead, Sarah Al Amiri. The overall team working on the Mission comprises some 200 staff from MBRSC, 150 from LASP and 100 from other partners, as well as an international science team.
The Emirates’ goal for the mission is to provide knowledge transfer to the next generation of Emirati scientist and engineers through a hands-on learning environment and knowledge-transfer program. The mission’s scientific goal is to provide an unprecedented global view of the Martian atmosphere in order to reveal the interconnections between different regions, times of day, and altitudes.
The mission is being carried out by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in the UAE in collaboration with a number of US research institutions, including the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder, Arizona State University and the Space Sciences Lab (SSL) at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB).
The scientific goals of the mission are to provide a complete picture of the lower and upper Martian atmosphere. Unique to Hope is its orbit, which enables near-complete daily and geographic coverage, providing a weather-satellite style view of the Martian atmosphere. The mission will give scientists greater insight into the connections within and between the upper and lower atmospheres and how those connections help to drive atmospheric escape.
To achieve these goals, Hope carries three scientific instruments, the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrograph (EMUS), Emirates eXploration Imager(EXI), and Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer(EMIRS). The EXI camera’s high-resolution images will measure properties of Mars’s water, ice, dust, aerosols and ozone in its atmosphere. The EMUS spectrometer will measure global characteristics and variability of hydrogen and oxygen in the Mars thermosphere. Both EXI and EMUS were developed at LASP in Boulder, Colorado. EMIRS (developed at ASU) will measure the distribution of dust particles and ice clouds while tracking the movement of water vapor and heat through the atmosphere.
- Hope’s mission is focused on atmospheric dynamics. It will explore the atmosphere of Mars while sampling both diurnal (daily) and seasonal timescales. This has never been done by any previous Mars mission.
- Understanding atmospheres of other planets allows us to better understand our planet and better understand other planets in the universe.
- How does the Martian lower atmosphere respond globally, diurnally and seasonally to solar forcing?
- How do conditions throughout the Martian atmosphere affect rates of atmospheric escape?
- How does the Martian exosphere behave temporally and spatially?
Mars Hope carries three instruments:
EXI – The Emirates eXploration Imager is a digital camera that will capture high-resolution imagesof Mars along with measuring water ice and ozone in the lower atmosphere through the UV bands.
EMIRS – The Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer will measure the global distribution of dust, ice cloud, and water vapor in the Martian lower atmosphere.
EMUS – The Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer will measure oxygen and carbon monoxide in the thermosphere and the variability of hydrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere.