R. Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary at ISRO.

The UAE’s Hope Probe will be able to give crucial inputs to India’s next Mars mission and open up new avenues of cooperation between both nations, a top scientist at Indian Space Research Organisation said.

“Data from Hope Probe on transport of dust and its large-scale movements on Mars and results on the loss of volatiles from Mars, will be an important input as India finalises its plans for the next Indian mission to Mars,” said R. Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary at ISRO.

“Joint research programmes linked to these studies would be a new avenue for bilateral cooperation,” he added.

India was the first Asian country and the fourth one globally to join the exclusive club of nations that have reached Mars alongside the US, Russia and the European Space Agency. With its indigenously made unmanned spacecraft, India became the first nation in the world to successfully reach Mars on its first attempt in 2014.

Hope Probe – the first interplanetary mission from the Arab World will travel 493.5 million km over seven months to reach Mars’ orbit in February 2021.

The ISRO scientist continued to say that “it is a major achievement for UAE to accomplish this challenging task of sending a mission to Mars.”

“The global coverage this mission provides will complement very well the high-resolution but restricted field-of-view studies carried out by the other contemporary Mars missions [including that of India],” Umamaheswaran pointed out.

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM, though a technology demonstrator, carried a camera to provide a synoptic view of Mars in the optical band, he said.

Phobos and Deimos, the two moons of Mars, were also pictured from close distances by Mars Colour Camera on the MOM, which is the only Martian artificial satellite that could image the full disc of Mars in one view frame and also image the far side of Deimos.

“This will be very well complemented by new images from the Hope Probe to cover various seasons and dust devil monitoring,” the ISRO scientist said.

The Indian scientist lauded this advanced project. “ISRO congratulates the UAE for undertaking this major mission as part of its rapidly advancing space programme,” said Umamaheswaran who has made a significant contribution to ISRO’s three launch vehicles such as Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV, and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles, GSLV and GSLV-MkIII.

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