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UAE spacecraft spots Mars for first time

UAE spacecraft spots Mars for first time

The United Arab Emirates' (UAE) first mission to Mars is reaching closer to its destination as it has now spotted the Red Planet.

Launched on July 19, the historic "Hope" probe, which is UAE's first-ever interplanetary mission is expected to reach the Red Planet in February next year.

"The Hope probe is officially 100 million km into its journey to the Red Planet," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE, wrote on Twitter.

"Mars, as demonstrated in the image captured by the probe's star tracker, is ahead of us, leaving Saturn and Jupiter behind. The Hope probe is expected to arrive at Mars in February 2021."

The spacecraft is now already one-fifth of the way through its journey, Space.com reported on Wednesday.

The Hope probe successfully completed its first trajectory correction maneuver earlier this month.

"This marks the first firing of the probe's six Delta-V thrusters, for course correction that will see the probe directly targeting Mars' capture orbit," the official Twitter handle of the mission said on August 17.

The spacecraft is expected to carry out nearly half a dozen such trajectory correction maneuvers to reach Mars.

According to the mission statement, the Hope probe which is officially called the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) is designed to orbit Mars and study the dynamics in the Martian atmosphere on a global scale, and on both diurnal and seasonal timescales.

Using three scientific instruments onboard the spacecraft, EMM will provide a set of measurements fundamental to a better understanding of circulation and weather in the Martian lower and middle atmosphere.

It aims to reveal many of the Red Planet's secrets, which could assist in setting up a human outpost on the planet in the future..