UAE’s Hope Probe Sends Back First Photo of Mars

The first image of Mars snapped by the Al Amal, or Hope, spacecraft. The photo was captured at a distance of 15,500 miles from the planet’s surface. (Emirates Mars Mission/Mohamed Bin Zayed)

Mars is the place to be this month. Two spacecraft have already entered orbit around the red planet: China’s Tianwen-1 got there on Feb. 10. And a day earlier, the United Arab Emirates made history by sliding the Al Amal (Hope) spacecraft into Martian orbit and becoming just the fifth country to reach Earth’s dusty, barren neighbor.

The first-ever Arab interplanetary mission has snapped a couple of images of Mars during its journey so far, but nothing quite like what it delivered early Sunday. From a distance of about 15,500 miles (25,000 kilometers), the probe’s camera — officially known as the Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI) — captured a picturesque view of Mars as a yellowed semicircle against the black curtain of space.

Some of Mars most famous features are visible in the image. Olympus Mons, the biggest volcano in the solar system peeks out at the terminator, where the sunlight wanes, while the three volcanoes of the Tharsis Montes dazzle under a mostly dust-free sky.

The picture was shared in a tweet by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, de facto ruler of the UAE.

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SOURCE: Cnet, Jackson Ryan

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