Live video broadcast will start at 7pm UAE time.

A new visitor to Mars arrives later today when the UAE’s Hope Probe, the first interplanetary mission in the Arab world, enters the Red Planet’s orbit, culminating a seven-month 300-million-mile journey from Earth.

At 7.42pm today, mission controllers in the UAE are expected to receive signal from the probe that it has fired its thrusters to slow its speed and allow it to fall into the grasp of Mars’ gravity. Radio signal travels 11 minutes from Earth to Mars, so the actual manoeuvre would have started 11 minutes earlier.

The Mars orbit insertion is expected to last 27 minutes. Five minutes later, the probe will move behind the planet, leaving it out of contact from mission controllers for 15 minutes.

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Upon re-establishing contact, controllers can confirm whether the 3,000-pound probe is properly orbiting around a highly elliptical path around Mars.

Hope Probe will orbit the Red Planet for two years, becoming the first probe to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere and its layers.

Jobannie C. Tabada

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