The United Arab Emirates will head to Mars for the first time on Tuesday. From Tanegashima, a Japanese island in the north Pacific ocean, a Mitsubishi H-IIA booster will carry a car-sized probe known as “Al Amal,” or “Hope,” to space — and onto the red planet.
The probe is expected to reach orbit around the red planet in early 2021. It’s designed to give a full picture of the Martian atmosphere, offering a holistic view of how Mars’ climate varies during the year.
How to watch the Hope probe launch to Mars
The launch from Tanegashima, Japan, opens Tuesday, July 14, at 1:51 p.m. PT. It’ll launch on a Mitsubishi H-IIA booster. The rocket isn’t quite as famous as the likes of , but it does have a great launch history, with over 40 successful launches under its belt, mostly of Japanese satellite systems.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre will carry a livestream of the launch from Japan, which you can watch via this link. Or, tune into the livestream below:
One big hope
Hope is the first interplanetary mission led by an Arab, Muslim-majority country and, if successful, will add another nation to the list of Martian explorers.
“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 in March. “It was, for us, more of an internal reinforcement of what the UAE is about.” The historic launch is set to be livestreamed across the globe.
The satellite will study the connections between Mars’ lower and upper atmosphere and examine what causes the loss of hydrogen and oxygen into space. It’ll collect data for two years after achieving its orbit around Mars in February 2021. There’s an option to extend the mission to 2025.
Aboard Hope are three instruments which will enable the probe to study the Martian atmosphere more intensely. There’s a high-resolution camera known as the Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI), a UV imager known as the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), and a scanning infrared imager dubbed the Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer (EMIRS).