Marvel at UAE Hope orbiter’s first image of Mars


It’s a beauty, folks.

The United Arab Emirates Hope orbiter snapped its first image of Mars on Sunday, as part of the first interplanetary mission from an Arab country.

Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s leader, announced this triumphant news on Twitter, calling it a “defining moment” in the nation’s history.

The photo shows Mars’ three shield volcanoes all in a line, as well as Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano in the solar system

The satellite entered the Red Planet’s orbit on Feb. 9 and will circle around Mars for months to gather more information about the planet’s atmosphere. As part of this mission, it will measure dust, ice clouds, water vapor distribution, and temperature so researchers can better understand how Mars’ seasons function.

But it’s not just about collecting data on Mars’ atmosphere. The orbiter, known as “Al Amal” or Hope in English, wants to inspire hope among people in the Middle East. 

“The intent was not to put a message or declaration to the world,” Sarah Al Amiri, chair of the UAE Council of Scientists and deputy project manager for the Emirates Mars Mission told CNET. “It was, for us, more of an internal reinforcement of what the UAE is about.”

After entering orbit around Mars, Hope will gather data for two years, with a possibility that the mission will last until 2025.  

Either way, we’re expecting many more photos of Mars. 

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