“I think the atmosphere has been avoided,” said Philip Christensen, a professor of planetary science at Arizona State University, who built the infrared spectrometer for hope. This tool will capture data on dust particles and icy clouds and track the movement of water vapor and heat across the atmosphere.
The spacecraft spends at least two years in orbit and observes a full cycle of Mars seasons.
And Dr. Christensen said, “I think we’re going to learn a tremendous amount.”
Brainstorming their way to Mars
Hope will be a well-traveled vehicle even before it goes into space in July.
As of Monday, it was not anywhere near the United Arab Emirates. On that day, the final spacecraft landed in Dubai, after a 7800-mile flight from Denver inside a Russian-made Antonov cargo plane.
After another round of tests in Dubai, one of the seven countries in the city that makes up the United States, the spacecraft will take another long plane flight, to Japan, to launch a missile to leave Earth.
The Emirati Mars strategy repeats what the country did in the second millennium when the Dubai government wanted to build Earth observation satellites. For this project, Dubai has turned into a South Korean satellite manufacturer.
The first collaboration product, DubaiSat-1, was built in South Korea, where Emirati engineers spend months there and learn mainly as coaches. In 2009 it launched a Russian missile. The 400lbs satellite camera has been used for urban planning, disaster relief and environmental monitoring.
The second satellite, DubaiSat-2, included a clearer camera and a faster communications system. It was also built in South Korea, but the work was further divided as an equal partnership between Emirati and South Korean engineers. The third satellite, Khalifa Sat, was the first to be developed and manufactured in the United States.