‘Pressure’ around Mars: three visitors from Earth to the next few days

In the next few days, Mars will receive three visitors from Earth. That starts Tuesday with the satellite al-Amal, developed by the United Arab Emirates. A Chinese probe follows Wednesday, and next week an American cart has to land on Mars. The three missions all started at the end of July.

The Al-Amal is the first Arab mission to another planet. The satellite is now heading for Mars at a speed of 121,000 kilometers per hour, and has to slow down to 18,000 kilometers per hour on Tuesday, so that it can be seized by gravity.

For

two years, he has to map the weather on Mars. In addition, it should help understand what causes hydrogen and oxygen to disappear from the thin atmosphere of Mars. These gases fly into space, which means that Mars has no chance of living as they do on Earth.

But the mission is primarily intended to put the Emirates on the map, in the year in which the country celebrates its 50th anniversary. The country sees science and technology as a source of income for the future, when oil runs out. The United Arab Emirates have its own space agency since 2014, and in 2019 for the first time a resident of the country went to space.

On Wednesday, the Chinese vessel Tianwen-1 (Heavenly Questions-1) must arrive in orbit around Mars. He needs to find a good place to land in May. When that happens, an unmanned cart has to come out and drive around Mars. China wants to find traces of life and map the surface and soil of Mars.

Hidden cart

Next week, the moving American laboratory Perseverance has to land on Mars. Hidden in the cargo hold of the cart is the first alien helicopter, the Ingenuity. If that technology works, helicopters can help to explore alien destinations much faster.