This week, scientists from the United Arab Emirates unveiled their latest findings from the Emirati Hope Probe, which has been orbiting Mars.
They say they have new ground-breaking insight into Deimos, a Martian moon.
The Hope Probe got closer to Deimos than any spacecraft has since 1977, and its observations challenge a long-standing theory about the origins of the red planet’s moons.
The mission is now being extended for another year.
CNN’s Eleni Giokos spoke to the Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, about the science behind it all and how this journey began.
Key quotes from Amiri:
On the new discoveries the Hope Probe made about Deimos:
“As the data was captured around Deimos, what we have been found out is that the composition of the moon is close to the composition of Mars, rather than being close to the composition of a captured asteroid, which is the current standing theory of the origin of Mars’s moons.
Now why are the significant, Deimos and perhaps even Phobos can most probably be pieces of Mars, similar to Earth’s moon, rather than being captured asteroids in orbit around Mars today. What’s significant for us is because we did small maneuvers to change the orbit of the spacecraft slightly, we’re able to continue capturing this data into our extended mission which will continue on till next year.”
“This is going to be our third significant scientific discovery; the science team will continue to get science data.”
On the purpose of the Hope Probe mission:
“Our primary science mission is actually addressing that indirectly in terms of understanding global changes on Mars as climate and the weather system of Mars. And we were able to capture well over two terabytes of data on the weather system on Mars capturing the entire year across all seasons.
On the importance of space exploration for the UAE:
“As we continue studying and discovering for us what’s important is continuing the advancement of science and technology in the UAE, advancing the industry, investing further in the space sector and investing further and realizing the potential of commercial space.
This is only one prong of many programs and projects that are under the UAE space fund that continues to stimulate advancements in development forward.
And these small pockets of achievements drive teams forward so that we can continue to achieve better science and great science, not only for the UAE, but for the space community at large.”