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The UAE has successfully launched the Arab world's first Mars mission, as this summer's space race heats up

July 20, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The United Arab Emirates successfully launched its Mars-bound Hope Probe on Sunday, marking the the Arab world's first interplanetary mission -- and the first of three international missions to the Red Planet this summer.

(CNN)The United Arab Emirates successfully launched its Mars-bound Hope Probe on Sunday, marking the the Arab world's first interplanetary mission -- and the first of three international missions to the Red Planet this summer.

The Al Amal probe, as it is called in Arabic, is expected to reach Mars by February 2021.

It will be the first time the UAE has orbited Mars, and the probe will stay in orbit for a Martian year -- equivalent to 687 days on Earth -- to gather data about Mars' atmosphere.

"It's an honor to be part of the global efforts to explore deep space," tweeted the official Hope Mars Mission account after the launch.

"The Hope Probe is the culmination of every single step that humans have taken throughout history to explore the unknown depths of space. "

These three countries are all launching this summer due to the occurrence of a biennial window when Earth and Mars are closest together, making the journey a little bit shorter.

NASA tweeted its congratulations after Hope's successful launch, writing on Perseverance's official Twitter page: "I wish you a successful journey and look forward to the sol when we are both exploring Mars . . .

The Hope Probe is the UAE's latest and most ambitious step in its burgeoning space sector.

And to find a novel science objective for Hope's mission, they consulted the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG), a forum created by NASA to plan explorations of Mars.

They decided to use Hope to build the first full picture of Mars' climate throughout the Martian year, said Sarah Al Amiri, the mission's science lead.

Studying Mars' weather system, including changes in the atmosphere and climate, could help lead to an understanding of how Mars -- a planet that used to share characteristics with Earth -- went from having rivers and lakes to having no water on its surface, said Al Amiri.

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