A cloudy day on Mars: UAE releases new Hope probe data

So far, 827.7 gigabytes of data has been released to the world free of charge, helping to boost the scientific community's understanding of the Red Planet

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The UAE has released its latest treasure trove of Mars data captured by the Hope probe on its orbit of the Red Planet.

The third collection contains 57 gigabytes of images and information gathered from September to November of last year, bringing the total amount of data issued to date to 827.7 gigabytes.

The latest observations indicate how Hope probe’s instruments attempted to capture motion and evolution in the atmosphere, where it observed high-density clouds in November.

The Emirates Mars Mission “Hope Probe” captured new observations about Mars atmosphere in its third batch of scientific data. Photo: Emirates Mars Mission

So far, scientists, researchers and astronomy enthusiasts have downloaded about 1.4 terabytes of data retrieved by Hope. It is available online free of charge.

“The probe is continuing its planned mission to orbit around Mars perfectly,” said Omran Sharaf, project director of the mission.

“The efficiency and high quality of the probe, manufactured by esteemed Emirati skills and international expertise, is the culmination of years of advances and progresses in manufacturing satellites, in accordance with world-class engineering and industrial standards.”

During this period of data collection, the Mars Solar Conjunction phase took place, which created a blackout in communications and halted science observation and data collection.

This phase happens about every two years and is caused when Earth and Mars are on the opposite sides of the Sun, which emits hot, ionised gas that interferes with radio signals.

Operations returned to normal once the phase over.

The spacecraft entered orbit around Mars on February 9, 2021 with a goal of studying the planet's dynamic weather system and atmospheric conditions.

The mission was developed by Emirati engineers and researchers, in collaboration with three American universities, including Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Arizona and the University of California, Berkeley.

The crucial data beamed back to Earth by the Hope probe aims to help scientists better understand the planet, including what causes hydrogen and oxygen to escape from its upper atmosphere.

Hope is also studying the relation between the higher and lower atmospheres of Mars, as well phenomena such as the planet’s intense dust storms.

The spacecraft tracked an enormous dust storm for two weeks, helping to show how quickly these ca spread across the planet.

“Publishing the data and images captured by the Hope probe and sharing it with the global scientific community reflects the UAE’s commitment to supporting scientific progress in the field of space and related sciences,” said Mr Sharaf.

“Sharing this data about the Red Planet’s atmosphere and climate with scientists, engineers, researchers, students and other beneficiaries will contribute to supporting scientific research and studies that seek to find out more about Mars and its climate’s shifts and interactions.”

Updated: April 08, 2022, 11:13 AM