Mars seems to be the center of the universe these days. Figuratively speaking, of course.
Just a few days before NASA is slated to launch and land its Perseverance Rover on the red planet and on the same day the Chinese Tianwen-1 orbiter arrived a Mars, the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates shared photos from the first-ever Arab interplanetary mission dubbed the Hope Probe.
The probe entered Mars’s orbit on last Tuesday and is slated to stick around the planet for a full Martian year, which equals about two years for us Earthlings. It aims to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere and its layers, according to the mission’s website.
Bin Zayed shared the news with an uplifting message, saying that he hopes the “mission will lead to new discoveries about Mars which will benefit humanity.”
The transmission of the Hope Probe's first image of Mars is a defining moment in our history and marks the UAE joining advanced nations involved in space exploration. We hope this mission will lead to new discoveries about Mars which will benefit humanity. pic.twitter.com/TCM5yHTapH
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) February 14, 2021
According to BBC News, the image was captured from roughly 15,000 miles from the Martian surface on Wednesday, about a day after the probe entered the planet’s orbit.
Viewers can spot the planet’s north pole in the top left of the image, according to BBC News. The largest volcano system on Mars, Olympus Mons, can be seen in the center of the photo. And a giant canyon system, known as Valles Marineris, is on the eastern portion of the planet (though it’s partially covered by a cloud).
The UAE plans to release more photos like these throughout the Hope Probe’s mission.