Centre for Space Science have created an impressive global map of Mars using the photos sent by the orbiting Hope Probe.
At first glance, the illustration looked like a sepia version of the world map — but upon closer look, you would see locations like “Terra”, ‘XAnthe”, Olympus Mons”.
The Red Planet’s polar ice caps, mountains, volcanoes, remnants of ancient rivers, lakes, valleys, and impact craters are among the landmarks and features that are visible on the map.
“Such highly detailed maps are an essential foundation upon which future scientific research on Mars can be built. The map will further allow scientists to learn about momentous shifts in climate that can fundamentally alter planets, which will provide insights that may be able to help us on Earth, too,” the university said.
Developed by Emirati engineers and researchers, the UAE’s Hope Probe is the first Arab interplanetary mission launched from Tanegashima, Japan, on July 20, 2020. Seven months later, it entered Mars’ orbit on February 9, 2021. Its mission is to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere and its layers. The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) has been sharing fresh data about the Red Planet and many of its discoveries have been helping the science community.
NYUAD group leader and research scientist Dimitra Atri and his team at the Centre for Space Science have created a never-seen-before map of Mars, using images exclusively created Hope Probe’s the Emirates Exploration Imager (EXI).
‘Beautiful map of Mars’
Atri said: “When I saw the first photograph of Mars captured by Hope Probe, I made up my mind to create a global map of Mars and we finally did it! I have never seen such a beautiful map of Mars. It took us several months to generate this map.”
“About half a terabyte of image data was processed on NYUAD’s Jubail supercomputer which takes about 200 processor hours each time. It took us around 50 attempts to get the algorithm right.”
According to Atri, the Mars Map combines more than 3,000 observations, produced by Hope Probe’s on board EXI instrument. Atri and his team created the color composite map by stitching together the thousands of observations from the EXI instrument over the course of one Mars year (equivalent to two Earth years).
Atri explained: “More than 30 previous spacecraft have only managed to capture a snapshot of the Mars weather, whilst EMM follows the seasonal changes throughout a Martian year (equivalent to two Earth years). The Hope Probe is helping researchers create this global image of the planet due to its strategic position. Hope Probe circles Mars in an elliptical orbit that allows it to observe from much further away than any other spacecraft. This strategic position is helping researchers to create a global image of the Red Planet.”
Available in Arabic and English
Atri said the Mars Map they created is in both English and Arabic and will be available to the public as part of the new and more advanced Atlas of Mars.
“The hope is that this accessibility will make it a great tool for researchers, and also students to learn more about Mars, and showcase the possibilities that the space sector in the UAE can offer,” he added.
“The complete Mars Map also brings the UAE and the Arab world another step closer to achieving EMM’s ambitious mission goal, to provide a complete global picture of the Martian climate,” Atri concluded.