General, Research, Technology

SpaceX, move over: why did the UAE need to fly to Mars?

Many are already accustomed to the fact that when it comes to space missions, it is mainly about Roscosmos (Russia) or NASA, and Space x (USA). China joined the race a few years ago, announcing ambitious plans to build its own space station (due to tensions with the United States, this country cannot send astronauts to the ISS). However, on July 20, 2020 (a beautiful date), it seems that another space "player" from Earth has appeared - the UAE. Unexpectedly for many, the United Arab Emirates launched an aircraft for the first time to another planet. And not somewhere, but to Mars!

The rocket was launched in Japan

Hope (Hope,"Nadezhda") became the country's first spacecraft launched to another planet. It was launched into space by a Japanese H-IIA rocket, and was also launched from Japan. This is not a manned mission, with its help the UAE plans to start its own research in the orbit of Mars.

UAE's first flight to Mars

The project budget was $ 200 million,it took about 6 years to develop and build the probe. At the same time, despite the fact that the spacecraft was launched into space by a Japanese rocket, the probe itself was built by UAE engineers in collaboration with the University of Colorado at Boulder, Arizona State University, the University of California, Berkeley and more. This helped scientists to use existing solutions and learn from the invaluable experience of American spacecraft designers.

Engineers from the United States helped in the development of the device

The start was specially scheduled for the summer of 2020 -The UAE authorities want the probe to reach Mars by the time of the country's 50th anniversary in December 2021. Due to the fact that the engineers were able to make it in time and get into the short window of approach of Mars and Earth in the orbit of the Sun (this happens once every 26 months), the flight will take minimum 7 months.

As the authors of the mission note, the flight is far fromthe hardest part of space travel. To enter Mars orbit, the probe will have to independently reduce its speed by almost 7 times to 18,000 km / h - the signal delay does not allow remote control of the process. Periodically, the UAE plans to adjust the course of the aircraft to avoid collisions with asteroids and space debris.

This is how the probe will look like in Mars orbit.

It is noteworthy that this is the country's first flight toanother planet, previously the UAE did not launch space probes even to the moon. Maximum - spacecraft were put into Earth orbit. And here is such a serious step, a flight to Mars. Is it too big?

How humans will survive on Mars

Given the financial capabilities of the UAE, many inIt was not clear to our Telegram chat why the country had not yet taken part in the space race. Someone says that all this is more of an image story (they say, to say “we launched the device to Mars”), timed to coincide with the country's 50th anniversary.

However, in reality, the UAE is approaching the developmentnew planets are pretty responsible. A couple of years ago, the country's authorities decided to build a whole city to simulate, as far as possible on Earth, the conditions of the Martian environment and life in it.

The new municipality will be named "Martian Science City" and will become part of the sheikh's long-term planMohammed Ibn Rashid Al Maktoum and the Emirates Space Center on the implementation of a grandiose Martian mission to create a human colony on the Red Planet by 2117. According to the construction plan, the area of ​​the city will be 177,000 square meters, which is approximately equal to, say, Sochi. The laboratories will try to find ways of the closest simulation of the environment of Mars, and also develop options that will allow for a long life on this planet under such conditions.

Mars on Earth project to simulate life on the Red Planet

And what, there is a desert everywhere - an ideal place to make "mini Mars on Earth", isn't it?

Who will be the first to send a man to Mars?

All this suggests that the country does not intendbe limited to just one flight of the probe into the orbit of the Red Planet. In the future, most likely, the UAE will send a rover to explore the soil of Mars, and there it is not far from a manned mission. It is unlikely, of course, they will catch up with Elon Musk and SpaceX, but who knows? Recall that Musk promised to send a man to Mars by 2024. There is not much time left. So far, SpaceX has successfully sent astronauts to the ISS, allowing the United States to resume its own space program for the first time in 10 years.

Other countries are also planning launches this yearto Mars. So, for example, on July 23, China wants to send a lander, an orbital probe and a rover to Mars. NASA's Perseverance rover will launch a little later. Despite the pandemic and the quarantine caused by it, countries are trying not to wind down their space experiments. Are we really going to have 4 space powers soon - Russia, the USA, China and the UAE?