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Mars Hope Probe success strengthens UAE-Japan partnership – Arab News

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TOKYO: Japan’s Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu praised the successful arrival of the UAE’s Hope Probe to Mars and its entry into orbit. Motegi also extended Japan’s congratulations to the UAE for this achievement, and pledged continued strategic bilateral cooperation in space and other fields.

Motegi told a press conference at the ministry on Feb. 12 that this entry was the very first arrival of a probe from the Middle East to Mars, that was carried on the Japan-made Mitsubishi H2A rocket launched from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture in July last year. 

“In Japan, we are very much happy that we have been able to contribute to that success that reflects the comprehensive strategic partnership between Japan and the UAE. Our bilateral relations and cooperation have been proceeding in various fields including the outer space, and (Hope Probe) is the symbol of that,” Motegi said.

On the day of the probe’s entry to Mars’ orbit, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s science mission chief, also congratulated the UAE on its historic achievement: “Your bold endeavor to explore the Red Planet will inspire many others to reach for the stars. We hope to join you at Mars soon with Perseverance.”

The Hope Probe reached the red planet after a seven-month journey, and succeeded despite a 50% chance of failure, according to the UAE’s Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Hope Probe will play a momentous role in studying the Martian atmosphere over 685 Earth days and will also offer the first-ever planet-wide, 24×7 picture of Mars’ atmospheric dynamics and weather.

This mission will also aim to carry out an investigation into the transformation of Mars, and its evolution, while also inspiring younger students to tap into the field of science.

Throughout, Japan has played an important role in ensuring the missions success and the spacecraft is Japan’s flagship launch vehicle and is one of the most reliable launch vehicles in the world.

Read more here: UAE Hope Probe expected to provide first complete picture of Mars in 1 week

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Perseverance saw its own descent stage crash – EarthSky

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The Mars rover Perseverance captured a photo on February 18, 2021, of its own descent stage crashing onto Mars’ surface and triggering a plume of smoke. Image via NASA.

One of the coolest shots we’ve seen from Perseverance on Mars so far came from the day of its successful landing, February 18, 2021. Minutes after landing, Perseverance managed to look off into the distance and capture an image of its own descent stage crash landing on Mars’ surface.

What’s the descent stage? Its role in Perseverance’s landing was brief, but vital. The descent stage is the rocket-powered section that deployed after the parachute. It was needed in part because Mars’ atmosphere is so thin that parachutes alone can’t guarantee a soft-enough landing. The descent stage kept the rover steady just above Mars’ surface, as the rover was deployed to Mars’ surface via cables. The descent stage wasn’t designed to land safely. After deploying the rover, it flew some distance off and crashed itself. That’s what Perseverance captured in this image.

Perseverance is busy on Mars examining its environs and recording all that it sees. It reports its findings with an anthropomorphized – and adorable – Twitter account @NASAPersevere. Its tweet about the descent stage crash landing was one of its first.

Diagram of stages of rover's descent through Mars' atmosphere to the surface.

Artist’s concept illustrating Perseverance’s landing on Mars, via NASA.

As you may have heard by now – or realized yourself – Mars is the only planet we know that’s populated by robots! A total of 18 spacecraft have been put in orbit around Mars, eight of which are still operating. Of the Mars’ rovers sent to Mars’s surface, five are still operational: Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance.

One Mars orbiter, the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, also captured Perseverance on Mars’ surface, at its landing spot. It managed to find the rover and the pieces shed on descent, then tweeted an image:

The rover is near the bottom center of the image, with the heat shield a dark circular spot in the upper right, the descent stage to the left (and in the plume photo above), and the white parachute and back shell bright on the surface at far left. You can see from the overhead view the large ridge between the rover and the descent stage that the rover is looking toward in the top image.

Since 1960, nine countries have sent missions either to orbit Mars or attempt to land on its surface, and many of them have crashed and burned, quite literally.

February 2021 saw three missions successfully make it to Mars, both in orbit and on the surface. Perseverance was one. The other two were the UAE’s Hope mission and China’s Tianwen-1.

Graphic showing Mars and over 20 missions with successes and failures.

Many spacecraft have tried to land on Mars but few have succeeded. Image via Al Jazeera.

Bottom line: NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance tweeted a photo of the resulting plume of smoke from the impact of the descent stage.

Kelly Kizer Whitt

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BlackburnNews.com – Fireball flies over Chatham-Kent sky – BlackburnNews.com

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Fireball flies over Chatham-Kent sky

February 26, 2021 fireball (Screen capture via fireballs.ndc.nasa.gov)


If you witnessed a bright light flash across the sky Friday night in Chatham-Kent, you weren’t imagining things.

A fireball passed over the region around 10:07 p.m.

Peter Brown, a Western University professor, meteor scientist and planetary astronomer tweeted a video of the event. Brown described it as being “as bright as [the] full Moon.”

According to the NASA All Sky Fireball Network, observers in Ontario, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania reported seeing a bright fireball in the sky on Friday evening. The event was captured by several all-sky meteor cameras belonging to the NASA All Sky Fireball Network and the Southern Ontario Meteor Network operated by Western University.

According to NASA, an initial analysis of the video shows that the meteor appears 90 km above Erieau on the northern shore of Lake Erie. It moved northwest at a speed of 105,800 km per hour as it crossed the Canada-U.S. border before ending 32 km above Fair Haven, MI.

“At its brightest, the fireball rivalled the quarter Moon in intensity,” read a statement on the NASA All Sky Fireball Network. “Combining this with the speed gives the fragment a mass of at least 2 kilograms and a diameter of approximately 12 centimetres.”

It’s believed that the meteor was caused by a fragment of a Jupiter family comet although an asteroidal origin is also possible.

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Fireball flies over Chatham-Kent sky – BlackburnNews.com

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Fireball flies over Chatham-Kent sky

February 26, 2021 fireball (Screen capture via fireballs.ndc.nasa.gov)


If you witnessed a bright light flash across the sky Friday night in Chatham-Kent, you weren’t imagining things.

A fireball passed over the region around 10:07 p.m.

Peter Brown, a Western University professor, meteor scientist and planetary astronomer tweeted a video of the event. Brown described it as being “as bright as [the] full Moon.”

According to the NASA All Sky Fireball Network, observers in Ontario, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania reported seeing a bright fireball in the sky on Friday evening. The event was captured by several all-sky meteor cameras belonging to the NASA All Sky Fireball Network and the Southern Ontario Meteor Network operated by Western University.

According to NASA, an initial analysis of the video shows that the meteor appears 90 km above Erieau on the northern shore of Lake Erie. It moved northwest at a speed of 105,800 km per hour as it crossed the Canada-U.S. border before ending 32 km above Fair Haven, MI.

“At its brightest, the fireball rivalled the quarter Moon in intensity,” read a statement on the NASA All Sky Fireball Network. “Combining this with the speed gives the fragment a mass of at least 2 kilograms and a diameter of approximately 12 centimetres.”

It’s believed that the meteor was caused by a fragment of a Jupiter family comet although an asteroidal origin is also possible.

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