Image: Emirates Mars Mission/Mohamed Bin Zayed


Mars is having a busy month with three missions scheduled to arrive at the red planet this February. The first of these is the United Arab Emirates’ Hope probe which has sent recently sent back its first close-up image of Mars.

The Hope probe has captured a few images of Mars as it progressed on its 200+ day journey. On February 9, after 493 million km travelled, the probe successfully entered Mars’ orbit. This makes the United Arab Emirates only the fifth country to reach Mars.

Mars in all its glory

Now that the Hope probe is safely in orbit, it’s managed to send back its first stunning image of the red planet.

UAE leader, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, shared the image on his Twitter account.

“The transmission of the Hope Probe’s first image of Mars is a defining moment in our history and marks the UAE joining advanced nations involved in space exploration. We hope this mission will lead to new discoveries about Mars which will benefit humanity,” he said.

The image was taken by the probe’s EXI digital exploration camera while it was approximately 25,000 km above the surface of Mars.

Captured in the image are some of Mars’ most prominent volcanoes, including Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano in our solar system. Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons and Arisia Mons can also be seen as the more prominent three rings on the surface.

The Emirates Mars Mission is designed to orbit Mars and gather information on the Martian atmosphere. The probe will monitor weather changes and the conditions of the upper and lower atmosphere throughout Mars’ seasons.

In April, the probe will begin the first-ever planet-wide picture of Mars’ atmospheric dynamics as it circulates the planet for a full Martian year of 687 days.

Last week China’s Tianwen-1 probe sent back its first image of Mars, which revealed a grayscale look at Earth’s neighbour. Tianwen-1 arrived in Mars’ orbit just one day after the Hope probe and it will eventually attempt a landing on the red planet’s surface in May.