Images of the surface of Mars indicates evidence of a warmer, and wetter planet than what we see today. One of the culprits of the transformation of this planet into a dry, dusty one is climate change and atmospheric loss. Scientists around the world continue to study the historic evolution of Mars’ atmosphere, and the Emirates Mars Mission aims to provide data that will bridge our gap in understanding the present-day climate of Mars.
Mars’ First Weather Satellite
The Hope Probe will study the weather system of Mars, monitoring for the first-time weather changes throughout the day, across the planet, during all seasons. Simultaneously, Hope Probe will monitor the distribution of hydrogen and oxygen in the upper portions of Mars’ atmosphere (the exosphere). Hope Probe will also focus on better understanding the link between weather changes in Mars’ lower atmosphere, with loss of hydrogen and oxygen from the upper layers of the atmosphere. This for the first time will allow us to study the link between weather change and atmospheric loss, a process that may have been responsible for Mars’ transition, over billions of years, from a thick atmosphere capable of sustaining liquid water on the surface, to the cold, thin, arid atmosphere we see today.
The Hope Probe’s Instrument Suite
The Hope Probe will be able to study the atmosphere from a science orbit of 20,000 km periapsis and 43,000 km apoapsis, with an orbital period of 55 hours and orbital inclination of 25°. No other Mars spacecraft has had such an orbit; most orbit at a single local time that allows the atmosphere to be measured at only one time of day. Hope Probe carries a suite of three instruments which work simultaneously to observe key constituents within the atmosphere.
Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI)
EXI is a multi-wavelength imager capable of capturing 12 mega-pixel visible images of Mars. EXI also measures the distribution of water ice and ozone in the lower atmosphere utilizing the ultraviolet bands.
Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS)
EMIRS observes Mars in the infrared band measures the optical depth of dust, ice clouds and water vapor in the atmosphere. EMIRS also measures the temperature of the surface and the lower atmosphere of Mars.
Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS)
EMUS studies the upper atmosphere of Mars through the far ultraviolet wavelengths. It determines the distribution of carbon monoxide and oxygen in the thermosphere. EMUS also measures the distribution of oxygen and hydrogen in the exosphere of Mars.