The United Arab Emirates’ first foray beyond Earth’s orbit is going so smoothly that the nation’s Hope Mars spacecraft will tackle some bonus observations before it reaches its destination, mission leaders have announced.
The Hope spacecraft launched in July and will arrive in orbit around the Red Planet on Feb. 9, 2021. There, it will study Mars’ atmosphere and weather, observations that will help scientists understand how the planet’s bubble of gas works. But after the spacecraft’s first three trajectory correction maneuvers were more accurate than the mission engineers had budgeted for, the Hope team has decided to briefly split the spacecraft’s focus to gather some extra science data before the probe arrives at Mars.
“This is one of the broad objectives of the mission, to provide novel science to the international community,” Hessa Al Matroushi, the