CU Boulder-assisted UAE mission to Mars captures image of largest volcano in solar system


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates on Sunday published the first image for its Mars probe now circling the red planet.

The picture, taken Wednesday, shows sunlight just coming across the surface of Mars. It shows Mars’ north pole, as well as Mars’ largest volcano, Olympus Mons.

The photo comes from the Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI) aboard the “Amal,” or “Hope,” space probe.

The probe swung into orbit around Mars on Tuesday in a triumph for the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.

The mission is being conducted by the United Arab Emirates’ Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in the United Arab Emirates in collaboration with the University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, the Space Sciences Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, and Arizona State University.

The composite color image released Sunday was created by combining the EXI’s red, green and blue images, CU Boulder officials said in a news release.

Mars’ north pole is in the upper left corner of the image. And in the center is the solar system’s largest volcano, Olympus Mons, “emerging into the early morning sunlight, at the boundary of day and night.”

“Look at all the clouds,” Andrew Jones, a LASP instrument scientist for EXI, said in a CU Boulder news release. “We were expecting great things from EXI, but seeing the clouds above the limb, and in the craters and valleys took my breath away.”