Friday Jul 17, 2020
TOKYO: A Japanese rocket carrying the first Arab mission to Mars will blast into space on Monday, after being delayed by bad weather, the launch company said Friday.
The lift-off of the United Arab Emirates´ "Hope" probe, originally planned for Wednesday, is now set for 6:58am Monday (21:58 GMT Sunday) from Tanegashima Space Centre in southern Japan, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said.
The UAE, made up of seven emirates, is set to be the first Arab nation to send a probe to Mars.
The probe is one of three racing to the Red Planet, with Chinese and US rockets also taking advantage of the Earth and Mars being unusually close: a mere hop of 55 million kilometres (34 million miles).
"Hope" — "Al-Amal" in Arabic — is expected to start orbiting Mars by February 2021, marking the 50th anniversary of the unification of the UAE.
Once there, it will loop the planet for a whole Martian year of 687 Earth days.
The goal is to provide a comprehensive image of weather dynamics in the Red Planet´s atmosphere.