As the Hope spacecraft awaits its launch, there are chances of the mission becoming successful or not

Hope spacecraft belonging to the United Arab Emirates will soon be entering the orbit around Mars, most probably on Feb 9. That’s not the issue. The problem is that there are concerns regarding its success, and not everyone is confident that it will be successful. If things go as planned, it will enter Mars at around 10:41 a.m. on 9th February. For 27 minutes, Hope will be firing its primary thrusters. Consequently, it will slow down to the extent that Mars’ gravity will capture it into orbit.

This moment has been awaited for a long since the launch of this Emirates Mars Mission spacecraft in July 2020. Its most crucial phase is this maneuver. Failure to happen will translate to bad news. It will mean that Hope will not enter the orbit. Worst case scenario is the spacecraft colliding with Mars, resulting in a repeat of an instance in 1999 during the Mars Climate Orbiter mission by NASA.

According to the UAE minister of state for advanced technology, serving as the chairperson of the UAE Space Agency Sarah Al Amiri, this maneuver passed through rehearsals and tests before the launch. The design is also in such a way that it facilitates the same. However, it is true that not at any point did they use the thrusters for the proposed time, 27 minutes. The decision was for economic reasons as they did their best not to utilize a lot of fuel. Sarah added that she had mixed feelings regarding the matter. The team, coming from a number of continents, has worked on it for seven years, which means that it was not a simple task. However, whether their efforts pay off or go to waste remains a mystery until D-day.

On the other hand, Pete Withnell is confident that the maneuver will see the light of the day. According to him, it is on the right track since it is on its planned trajectory. He is confident because of the many previous tests. In addition to the practice, there was extensive analysis and simulation as well, said Pete. The fact that the spacecraft is still healthy months later, he can’t help but be optimistic.

If Pete is right and Hope’s mission becomes a success viewing the Martian atmosphere will be possible and as comprehensive as it can be. That will be achievable with the help of the three instruments onboard Hope. Which are the gases that escape this atmosphere and enters space? How is Martian weather like? These are answers people might get once the mission succeeds.

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