Mars Is The Place To Go This Summer
Okay Joe Palca. We are talking missions to Mars. Let's start with the United Arab Emirates which launched its probe two weeks ago. As you said, this is the country's first mission to Mars Yup and the probe is called hope and it will arrive in twenty twenty, one and twenty twenty one is a big year for the U. E. as I'm sure you know Emily Kwong I do not Joe Palca, but you're going to tell me why, yes, I am a because it's the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the UAE which was established in nineteen seventy one. So the morality leadership was eager to do something. Something to celebrate and a mission to Mars seemed like a great idea, Joe, that is a pretty splashy birthday present. Yes. That's what I was hoping for my fiftieth birthday, but I didn't get it. But seriously, that's just one of the reasons that they were going to Mars, it's partly to celebrate, but I talked Sarah Murray the deputy project manager and science lead for the emerets Mars mission. The purpose was not only to get to Mars by twenty twenty one and have vowed scientific. Data coming out of the mission that is unique nature and no other mission has captured before. But more importantly, it was about developing the capabilities and capacity of engineers in the country. Interesting. Yeah. Sarah says that the country's leaders wanted the you A. to develop a more of a knowledge-based economy and building a Mars probe provided a focus for expanding the country's technological capabilities. Okay. So Sarah mentioned the unique nature of this mission. Joe Tell me about the probe and what it is designed to do. It's about the size of a small car in weighs about a ton and a half, and it has these solar panels that look like wings essentially an and when they're spread out, it's about twenty four feet wide and when it goes to, Mars it will go into a really unusual elliptical orbit that will take essentially over every point on Mars. Once a week, it's providing us with full understanding of the changes, the weather of, Mars. Throughout an entire Martian day and throughout all the seasons of Morris throughout an entire Martian year, which lasts roughly two earth years. Wow. So they're really trying to get a comprehensive picture of the Martian atmosphere right and it's not just over time. Here's David Brain. He's part of a team of scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder collaborating on the emerets Mars mission. The three instruments that are on the space craft will help us measure the atmosphere of Mars from the surface, all the way to space. which has really been done before with other missions and that's very cool. All right. Joe, I know that China's mission to Mars has been a bit shrouded in secrecy. Here's what we know that it's name is teen win one which means questions to heaven. But one of the most notable things about it is that it includes an orbiter, a lander Andrew Rover. So a spacecraft that orbits the planet can land on it and move across the surface. Right? Well, it's really it's got three parts. It's all pushed together for the trip there, but then they separate. The orbiter of course stays in orbit and does remote sensing of the planet, and also will serve as a radio relay station for the mission on the surface, and then they'll these two things together, Land Rover, and then the rover will drive down a ramp and explore around the landing site. So it's an interesting mission, and I think it's a little hard to say China is not obviously in the same category as. As NASA terms of look what we did look over here, look do this we you know there there are a little more circumspect about how they do their missions. But the scientists I've talked to say this is a very serious interesting probe and it puts China in a really interesting position because only one country has successfully landed and roved round on Mars. Can you guess which country that is Russia? Now it's a It's the U S. of course, Russia did actually land a probe. It's a question of whether to call it a success or not because it only sends signals back for a few seconds. So technical success, I guess but not a very interesting mission.