In coming months, the world would see not just one but three rockets that will light their engines and set course for Mars.
- United States
Yes, it’s surprising and even amazing to consider UAE dreaming big and shooting for Mars with its first probe to go beyond Earth orbit. The name of projects are:
- Perseverance – NASA
- Tianwen-1 – CNSA
- HOPE – EMM
Each project has it’s own story and expectations, different launch pads, unique method in approaching & analyzing the red planet. United States is sending its fifth rover, NASA’s most capable ever approach of finding evidence of past life on Mars and collecting a set of rocks that will one day be the first samples to flown back to Earth.
China aims to build on its lunar-exploration successes by taking one of its rovers to Mars for the first time. The UAE will be launching an orbiter, the first ever mission by any Arab nation as a test of its young but ambitions space agency.
There’s no doubt on the amount of energy, funding and expectations that each space agency have with their unique space mission in exploring Mars. These projects have different specifications and approach to the red planet:
It’s hunt for rocks, with a six-wheeled, three meter long rover named Perseverance will extract samples of Martian rocks which includes a future mission to pick the samples and bring back to Earth possibly by 2031. Which would be first-ever sample return from Mars.
Perseverance is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida between 30 July and 15 August, and land on Mars on 18 February 2021.
China’s Mars debut, is packed with an orbiter, lander and rover packed with 13 scientific instruments are set to launch from an island in southern China in late July. The mission is named Tianwen-1 which means ‘quest for heavenly truth’. Post it’s arrival, February next year, the mission will aom to conduct survey of the red planet’s atmosphere, structures and surface environment which includes presence of water and signs of life.
With its first probe to shoot for Mars, the name ‘HOPE’ suits best for the orbiter, which is set to launch from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Kagoshima, Japan, during a three-week window starting on 15 July.
If Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) is successful with HOPE, it will not only mark the first interplanetary venture of any Arab nation but also produce first global weather map of Mars.