DUBAI • The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) “Hope” probe has sent back its first image of Mars, the national space agency said, days after the spacecraft entered the Red Planet’s orbit.
The picture “captured the largest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, emerging into the early morning sunlight”, it said in a statement on Sunday.
The image was taken from an altitude of 24,700km above the Martian surface last Wednesday, a day after the probe entered Mars’ orbit, it added.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Prime Minister of UAE and Dubai’s ruler, shared the coloured image on Twitter.
“The first picture of Mars captured by the first-ever Arab probe in history,” he wrote.
The mission is designed to reveal the secrets of Martian weather, but the UAE also wants it to serve as an inspiration for the region’s youth.
Hope became the first of three spacecraft to arrive at the Red Planet this month after China and the United States also launched missions last July, taking advantage of a period when Earth and Mars are nearest.
The UAE’s venture is also timed to mark the 50th anniversary of the unification of the nation’s seven emirates.
Hope will orbit the Red Planet for at least one Martian year, or 687 days, using three scientific instruments to monitor the Martian atmosphere.
It is expected to begin transmitting more information back to Earth in September, with the data available for scientists around the world to study.