In DepthPlanetary Science

Small Gulf nation aims for big splash on Mars

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Science  06 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6320, pp. 12
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6320.12

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The United Arab Emirates is embarking on a startlingly ambitious project: a science mission to Mars. In July 2020, the oil-rich nation aims to launch a spacecraft called Hope that will orbit the Red Planet and probe its atmosphere from top to bottom. The mission team, some 120 young Emirati scientists, is now gearing up for a critical design review. To be launched on a Japanese rocket, Hope will gradually drift relative to the martian surface once in orbit, offering researchers a global view of how the atmosphere evolves. Hope's second goal is to probe how the martian atmosphere bleeds off into space, a phenomenon that, over billions of years, has left the planet bone dry and inhospitable.

  • * Sedeer El-Showk is a science journalist based in Morocco and Finland.

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