The United Arab Emirates' Hope probe, which was launched in July from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center for Mars, has got a glimpse of the Red planet for the first time.
Prime Minister of the UAE Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum took to Twitter to share the news. He informed, "The Hope probe is officially 100 million km into its journey to the Red Planet. Mars, as demonstrated in the image captured by the probe’s Star Tracker, is ahead of us, leaving Saturn and Jupiter behind."
It is expected to arrive on Mars in February 2021, he added. The prime minister also shared pictures of Mars captured by the probe.
The Hope probe is officially 100 million km into its journey to the Red Planet. Mars, as demonstrated in the image captured by the probe’s Star Tracker, is ahead of us, leaving Saturn and Jupiter behind. The Hope probe is expected to arrive to Mars on February 2021. pic.twitter.com/Eg2pMerc78— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) August 24, 2020
Space.com reported, citing a statement from the program, that the mission has one-fifth of the distance.
The star tracker informs the mission of its exact location and also helps it remain on course.
During its journey, the probe will be required to make around half a dozen trajectory corrections to finetune its path. One such correction took place earlier this month, according to Space.com.
The Mars mission has cost the UAE $200 million, reported Reuters quoting UAE’s Minister for Advanced Sciences Sarah Amiri.
It is expected to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere, examining the Red planet’s daily and seasonal changes.
The probe was developed by Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), which worked in collaboration with US educational institutions.
The spacecraft is reportedly travelling at an average speed of 1,21,000 km per hour.
The UAE has ambitious plans of settlement on Mars by 2117.