İrem UZUN -TDO- The United Arab Emirates' first mission to Mars arrived at the red planet on Tuesday and successfully entered orbit on its first attempt. The Emirates Mars Mission, known as the Hope Probe, sent back a signal confirming it's in orbit. "Success! Contact with #HopeProbe has been established again. The Mars Orbit Insertion is now complete," according to a tweet from the mission's Twitter account at 11:16 a.m. ET.
The probe, named Hope in English (Amal in Arabic), completed a tricky maneuver to enter into orbit after a seven-month flight in which it covered more than 493 million kilometers following its launch from Tanegashima in Japan. The Emirates Mars Mission is the first of three space missions due to reach Mars this month and is being rapidly followed by China's Tianwen-1 orbiter and lander, and NASA's Perseverance rover.
The £160m satellite aims to provide a picture of the Martian atmosphere and study daily and seasonal changes on the planet, as well advancing the UAE's science and technology sector, enabling it to move away from its economic reliance on oil. The spacecraft itself was designed and assembled by researchers at three American universities. Scientists believe Mars was once abundant with water, and very possibly life. The UAE Space Agency said, "One of the culprits of the transformation of this planet into a dry, dusty one is climate change and atmospheric loss."