In pics | Search for life on Mars: Three spacecraft from US, China and UAE are set to head off to Red Planet Mars, often referred to as the Red Planet, is about to be invaded by three countries — the United States, China and the United Arab Emirates — which are sending their unmanned spacecraft to the planet to seek signs of ancient microscopic life.
July 13, 2020 / 04:06 PM IST
Mars, often referred to as the Red Planet, is about to be invaded by three countries — the United States, China and the United Arab Emirates — which are sending their unmanned spacecraft to the planet to seek signs of ancient microscopic life while scouting out locations for future astronauts. In this May 6, 2015 photo, Sarah Amiri, deputy project manager of the United Arab Emirates Mars mission, talks about the project named 'Hope', or 'Al-Amal' in Arabic, which is scheduled for launch in 2020, during a ceremony in Dubai, the UAE. (Image: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
The US is dispatching a six-wheeled rover the size of a car, named Perseverance, to collect rock samples that will be brought back to Earth for analysis in about a decade. This July 23, 2019 photo made available by NASA shows the head of the Mars rover Perseverance's remote sensing mast, which contains the SuperCam instrument in the large circular opening, two Mastcam-Z imagers in gray boxes, and next to those, the rover's two navigation cameras, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The robotic vehicle will hunt for rocks containing biological signatures if they exist. (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)
Each spacecraft will travel more than 483 million kilometres before reaching Mars next February. It takes six to seven months, at the minimum, for a spacecraft to loop out beyond Earth's orbit and sync up with Mars' more distant orbit around the sun. In this December 17, 2019 photo made available by NASA, engineers monitor a driving test for the Mars rover Perseverance in a clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The robotic vehicle, scheduled to launch on July 30, 2020, is planned to touch down in an ancient river delta and lake known as Jezero Crater, not quite as big as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. (Image: J. Krohn/NASA via AP)
Mars has proved to be the graveyard for numerous missions. Spacecraft have blown up, burned up or crash-landed, with the casualty rate over the decades exceeding 50p percent. China's last attempt, in collaboration with Russia in 2011, ended in failure. Only the US has successfully put a spacecraft on Mars, doing it eight times. Two NASA landers are now operating there, InSight and Curiosity. Six other spacecraft are exploring the planet from orbit: three US, two European and one Indian. In this November 14, 2019 photo, a Mars lander is lifted during a test for its hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities at a facility at Huailai in China's Hebei province. The site outside Beijing simulated conditions on the Red Planet, where the pull of gravity is about one-third that of Earth. China will launch its Mars rover and an orbiter sometime around July 23, 2020, in a mission named Tianwen, or Questions for Heaven. (Image: AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this November 14, 2019 photo, the Mars lander's hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities are tested at a facility at Huailai in China's Hebei province. (Image: AP Photo/Andy Wong)
The UAE spacecraft, named Amal, which is Arabic for Hope, is an orbiter scheduled to rocket away from Japan on July 15, local time, on what will be the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission. The spacecraft, built in partnership with the University of Colorado Boulder, will arrive at Mars in the year the UAE marks the 50th anniversary of its founding. Mahmood al-Nasser, left, and Mohammad Nasser al-Emadi, centre, test the Emirates Mars Mission probe's 'flat sat' at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on June 25, 2020. (Image: AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)