UAE researchers' Mars map shows Red Planet in striking detail

The globe-like image was created by academics using data gathered by the UAE's Hope probe

A New York University Abu Dhabi team has created a striking Mars map. Photo: NYUAD
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Researchers have mapped out a striking new image of Mars, using two years of data gathered by the UAE's Hope probe.

The globe-like photographic map was compiled from more than 3,000 observations beamed back to Earth by the spacecraft.

It was stitched together by Dr Dimitra Atri, a research scientist at New York University Abu Dhabi, and his team as part of a project to develop an atlas of the Red Planet.

Hope, the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission, has been orbiting Mars for more than two years.

Space chiefs last month announced it had moved to a new orbit around Mars to study one of the planet’s tiny moons.

“We plan to make our map available to the entire planet, as part of the new and more advanced Atlas of Mars, which we have been working on, and it will be available in both English and Arabic once published," said Dr Atri.

"The hope is that this accessibility will make it a great tool for researchers, and also students to learn more about Mars, and showcase the possibilities that the space sector in the UAE can offer.”

World of discovery

The Mars map shows regions and features of the Red Planet in exceptional resolution, highlighting all of its major features., from polar ice caps and mountains to remnants of ancient rivers, lakes and valleys.

It has been painstakingly created using visuals captured Emirates Exploration Imager – a high-resolution camera on board the Hope probe.

The map aims to bolster scientific knowledge of momentous shifts in climate that can fundamentally alter planets.

Other researchers have created maps but none have been able to illustrate the weather changes the planet experiences at different times of the day and during different seasons.

“The complete Mars map also brings the UAE and the Arab world another step closer to achieving EMM’s ambitious mission goal, to provide a complete global picture of the Martian climate,” Dr Atri said.

“More than 30 previous spacecraft have only managed to capture a snapshot of the Mars weather, while EMM will follow the seasonal changes throughout a Martian year.

"The Hope probe is helping researchers to create this global image of the planet due to its strategic position. Hope circles Mars in an elliptical orbit that allows it to observe from much further away than any other spacecraft. This strategic position is helping researchers to create a global image of the planet.”

Updated: March 30, 2023, 9:46 AM