The United Arab Emirates successfully launches its first spacecraft bound for Mars

UAE-DUBAI-SCIENCE-SPACE-MARS

A screen broadcasting the launch of the “Hope” Mars probe at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai. | Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

Today, the United Arab Emirates’ first interplanetary mission successfully took off from the southern tip of Japan, sending up a car-sized probe bound for the planet Mars. The launch marks the beginning of the country’s most ambitious space project yet, aimed at studying the weather on Mars as it evolves throughout the planet’s year.

The spacecraft, called Hope, took off on top of a Japanese H-IIA rocket from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center at 6:58AM at the launch site (or 5:58PM ET this afternoon on the East Coast of the US). The probe will now spend the next seven months traveling through deep space, periodically correcting its course with a series of engine burns. Then sometime in February of 2021, it’ll attempt to put itself into an…

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Author: Loren Grush