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Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

  • The UAE launched the Arab world’s first mission to Mars, Amal (Hope), which was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan, aboard a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-II A rocket.
  • The UAE launch marks the first of three missions being planned to Mars
  • China plans its first Mars probe, Tianwen-1 (formerly Huoxing 1) and The US, the only country that has sent previous missions to Mars, plans its Perseverance mission.

Why is July 2020 the picked time for several missions?

The end of July 2020 offers a launch window during which Earth and Mars will be aligned at their closest points in two years, which means using less fuel to reach the planet. If a spacecraft is launched too early or too late, it will arrive in the planet’s orbit when the planet is not there.

Perseverance: hunt or life

  • NASA’s rover Perseverance will look for signs of habitable conditions on Mars and microbial life in its ancient past.
  • The rover is equipped with specialised equipment to collect data, analyse weather conditions that can help plan for future human missions, and produce oxygen from the carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere.

Hope: Atmospheric data

  • Hope was developed by UAE scientists in the US, and it carries three instruments including a high-resolution camera and a spectrometer.
  • The spacecraft is on an orbital mission to collect data on Martian climate dynamics and help scientists understand why Mars’s atmosphere is decaying into space.
  • Hope is the UAE’s fourth space mission and first interplanetary one. The previous three were all Earth-observation satellites.

Tianwen-1: Soil study

  • China’s first Mars probe consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover and aims to study Martian topography and geology and determine the composition of the surface material, climate and environment.
  • The orbiter is expected to reach the planet by early 2021 and will use high-resolution cameras to search for a suitable landing site somewhere in the Utopia Planitia region.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023