Credit: MBRSC/UAE Space Agency

The United Arab Emirates Hope Mars spacecraft is nearing its orbit insertion around the Red Planet on February 9. It is the first arrival of a trio of Mars bound spacecraft; the other two are from China and the NASA Perseverance rover mission.

The mission of the UAE’s Hope orbiter is to build the first full picture of Mars’ climate throughout the Martian year and will include the study of the Martian atmosphere, the relationship between the upper layer and lower layer.

As a result, for the first time, scientists based in over 200 universities globally will have access to a holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day, through different seasons.

China’s three-in-one mission: An orbiter, lander, and rover.
Credit: Wan, W.X., Wang, C., Li, C.L. et al.


Meanwhile, China’s Tianwen-1 robotic probe is also set to enter Mars orbit around February 10. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) previously said that if everything goes according to schedule, the 5-metric ton probe, consisting of an orbiter, lander, and rover, will conduct a “braking” operation to decelerate its speed and begin its orbiting of the Red Planet.

The mission’s ultimate goal is to soft-land on Mars, and deploy a rover in May 2021 on the southern part of Mars’ Utopia Planitia — a large plain within Utopia.

NASA’s next Mars explorer, the Perseverance rover.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Perseverance rover

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is the biggest, heaviest, cleanest, and most sophisticated six-wheeled robotic geologist ever launched into space. It is on track for a February 18, direct descent touchdown within Jezero Crater.

The multi-tasked mission has as a major goal searching for signs of ancient life and collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth.

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