Space X is the headline grabbing space exploration company, with the Falcon rocket breaking boundaries in reusability, and the Starship blowing away what we think is possible. Yet the rest of the world is in tow.
Thi week the United Arab Emirates and China successfully deployed their missions to orbit Mars. No one can doubt Space X, headed by Elon Musk, controls the airwaves with the latest and greatest in missions to outer space and the branding which accompanies such missions, but the Hope probe is living up to its mónica as the UAE is only the fifth spacefaring entity to do so after the US, the Soviet Union, Europe and India.
As the BBC reported, “the spacecraft, which left Earth seven months ago, had to make a braking manoeuvre to be sure of being captured by Mars’ gravity. UAE scientists can now look forward to studying the planet’s atmosphere. Their satellite carries three instruments that will observe, among other targets, how neutral atoms of hydrogen and oxygen – remnants from Mars’ once abundant water – leak into space.”
There is a clear difference to how Space X generates its buzz, Space X puts humans at the centre of everything they do, and we as humans are drawn to other humans. That doesn’t mean what the UAE has achieved this week is diminished at all, their mission will be vital to our understanding of what the red planet has in stall for humans once our time to travel there has come.
The second nation to take Mars by storm this week was China. It’s fair to say Chinese space exploration doesn’t hit the front pages in Western media, but their ability to move quick at a State level, ensures their space programme is moving at pace. As Space.com reported, the China’s Tianwen-1 Mars probe “launched on July 23, 2020 and is China’s first independent interplanetary mission. It arrived in orbit around Mars after a 202-day, 295-million-mile (475 million kilometers) journey through deep space. It snapped an image of the Red Planet during its final approach.
The spacecraft consists of both an orbiter and a rover. The landing attempt for the rover is not expected until May or June, giving the orbiter time to image and map out the intended landing site in a region known as Utopia Planitia.”
One thing is for certain, the more countries invest in Space exploration, the more eyes will be placed on each mission. The more the world can get behind Mars exploration, the more missions we’ll have to feed back information on what it will actually be like for ourselves living on Mars.