In News: Launch Delayed
• The launch of the United Arab Emirates 1st mission to Mars has been delayed by 2 days due to bad weather conditions.
• The United Arab Emirate Hope spacecraft was scheduled to take off from its launch site, Tanegashima Space Center, (largest rocket-launch complex) in Japan on July 14. The mission is now scheduled for 16 July launch.
• The Hope spacecraft must blast off from the Earth during a brief launch window in July this year, since Earth and Mars orbit the Sun at different rates and are aligned at their closest points only once couple of years.
What is the mission?
• The Emirates Mars Mission (UAE’s) called “Hope” was announced in 2015 with the aim of creating mankind’s 1st integrated model of the Red planet’s atmosphere.
Equipments on Board
• Hope spacecraft weighs over 1500 kg, and will carry scientific instruments mounted on one side of the spacecraft, including the
✓Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI), which is a high-resolution camera,
✓the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), a far-UV imaging spectrograph,
✓the Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer (EMIRS), and
✓FTIR scanning spectrometer.
• The Hope will orbit Mars to study the Martian atmosphere and its interaction with outer space and solar winds.
• Hope spacecraft will collect data on Martian climate dynamics, which should help scientists understand why Mars Planet’ atmosphere is decaying into space.
• giving them clues about why the atmosphere changed, to search for a connection between current weather on Mars Planet and the one that existed
Solar Winds and their impact
• The solar wind is a stream of charged particles released from the upper part od the atmosphere of the Sun, called the corona.
• This plasma mostly consists of electrons, protons and alpha particles.
• When these clouds, called corona! mass ejections, make their way to the Earth in 3-4 days, they collide with the magnetic field of the Earth and cause it to change its shape. The particles then leak through the magnetic field of the Earth Planet, particularly near the north and south poles of the earth, and cause still more changes to the magnetic field of the Earth, this time at even lower altitudes closer to the ground. These changes can produce many problems with electrical equipment.
• Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) is a spacecraft developed by National Aeronautics and Space Administration that went into orbit around Mars Planet to study the planet’s atmosphere.
• Mission goals include determining how the atmosphere and water, presumed to have once been substantial, were lost over time.
Role Played by NASA Maven
• In 2017, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft revealed that solar wind and radiation had stripped the Martian atmosphere from the planet, which could have supported life billions of years ago.
• In 2015, Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution team members showed how the planet’s atmospheric gas is being lost to space. This meant that Mars’ atmosphere is too cold and thin to provide stability to liquid water, which is essential for life.
• But evidence, in the form of features resembling dry river beds and minerals that can only be formed in the presence of liquid water, indicates that the ancient Martian atmosphere was much warmer, allowing water to flow on its surface.
• Therefore, scientists want to study the past environments that would have existed on Mars Planet to understand how a planet’s habitability can change over time.
But why Mars?
• It mostly boils down to the possibility that the atmosphere of Mars Planet was once warm enough to allow water to flow through its surface, which could mean life existed there too.
• What makes scientists curious about Mars is the “defining question” of the existence of life on the planet, because of the possible presence of liquid water on it, either in the past or preserved in its subsurface. This question makes the planet more intriguing for scientists since “almost everywhere we find water on Earth, we find life,” as National Aeronautics and Space Administration puts it.
• Further, if Mars Planet harboured a warmer atmosphere enabling water to flow in its ancient past (3.5-3.8 billion years ago), and if microbial life existed on it, it is possible that it exists in “special regions” even today. • But regardless of life having existed on Mars Planet or not, there is the idea that humans themselves might be able to inhabit the planet single day.
Has any human set foot on Mars yet?
• No human has set foot on Mars Planet yet because the atmosphere on Mars is very thin, consisting of mostly carbon dioxide with no breathable oxygen, making it difficult for astronauts to survive there.
• Further, the landscape of Mars Planet is freezing, with no protection from the Sun’s radiation or passing dust storms.
• Therefore, more research, technology and testing is required to be able to send humans to Mars. National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to do so by the 2030.
Emirates Mars Mission HOPE Emirates Mars Mission HOPE