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UAE's Hope Probe captures stunning photos of atomic hydrogen around Mars


Last updated on May 12, 2021 at 12.36 pm
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The UAE's Hope Probe to Mars has captured some stunning images of atomic hydrogen surrounding the Red Planet.

The images were captured by the spacecraft's Emirates Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS) on April 24 and 25 after transitioning into its science orbit. EMM is the first mission ever over any planet to make images from different points of view over the course of a day.

The images were captured over the course of 10 hours and 34 minutes. During this period, the Hope Probe moved from being over the planet near noon and viewing the entire dayside, to being over the planet at dusk and seeing both the day and night side.

"These images will be used to reconstruct the 3D distribution of hydrogen and learn more about its production through the process of splitting water molecules by sunlight and its eventual escape to space," the Emirates Mars Mission said.

On February 9, the UAE reached the furthest point in space in Arab history as its Hope Probe entered the Martian oribit.

The spacecraft entered its science orbit on March 29. The mission’s two-year science data collection will formally commence on May 23, with data being made available globally in October.

The process of science data gathering consists of making repeated ‘passes’ around Mars and mapping each set of measurements to build a dynamic picture of the movement of dust, ice and water vapour throughout the planet’s atmospheric layers. In addition to measuring hydrogen, oxygen, carbon monoxide and ozone, the probe will capture variations in temperature.

The unique elliptical 25-degree orbit of the Hope Probe enables a planet-wide, high resolution sample to be taken every 225 hours (9.5 days).

Three instruments

The probe is tasked to provide the first ever complete picture of the Martian atmosphere. Three state-of-the-art science instruments have been designed to study the different aspects of the Martian atmosphere:

EXI – The Emirates eXploration Imager is a 12-megapixel digital camera that captures high-resolution images of Mars. It will also measure water ice and ozone in the lower atmosphere through the UV bands.

EMIRS – The Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer collects information on surface and atmospheric temperatures and measures the global distribution of dust, ice cloud, and water vapour in the Martian lower atmosphere.

EMUS – The Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer measures oxygen and carbon monoxide in the thermosphere and the variability of hydrogen and oxygen in the exosphere.