NASA Teams Up With UAE Mars Probe; Communications Capability

First Posted: Nov 29, 2016 04:46 AM EST

The journey to Mars is being conceptualized by NASA. Many different countries and space companies are participating in the project of NASA. Recently, the space agency plans to team up with UAE.

NASA plans to work with the United Arab Emirate Space Agency. The UAE will put the communication capability of the UAE's Mars spacecraft that will reach the Red Planet by 2021.

In an interview by The Gulf News, Deputy Chief Scientist from NASA Dr. Gale Allen said that the collaboration between the two agencies is part of the development of an "umbrella agreement."

" We want to work very closely with the UAE on any other missions going forward," said Allen who was in the UAE for the UN-UAE High-Level Forum on Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development.

Dr. Allen added that "For the Mars probe, one of the things that are very interesting to us is an opportunity to put communications capability on the probe. The importance for us is that we really want to send humans to Mars in the 2030s. We are looking at, possibly at some point, putting better communications up there. If we could partner and leverage the UAE Mars probe, it is certainly going to be beneficial for us."

The UAE's Hope spacecraft will travel in a nine-month journey around 60 million kilometers. If it happens, it will also be the UAE's 50th anniversary in 2021. The mission will be supervised by the UAE Space Agency and was developed by Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). It is also being supported by the international partners, according to The Economic Times.

In addition, Dr. Allen said that the UAE is helping make the space safer. They have developed an astronomical camera network to monitor debris in space. It is a concern because catastrophic collisions could happen, such as the super speeds with unmanned and manned spacecraft.

Dr. Allen also pointed out that the astronauts from International Space Station "not long ago had to evacuate the space station. They were sitting in escape vehicles because there was a piece of a satellite that was coming right at the space station. So debris in space has become very difficult to deal with."

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