Spacewatch: Hope spacecraft sends back pictures of Mars volcanoes

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The first photograph of Mars taken by the Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope spacecraft has been released by the UAE Space Agency and Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre .

Captured at 20:36 GMT on 10 February 2021, one day after the Hope probe successfully entered orbit around the red planet, the image shows sunlight creeping over the giant volcanoes of the Tharsis region.

Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system, sits at the centre of the image. Despite its size, it is much less obvious than the other three volcanoes: (from top to bottom) Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Arsia Mons.

To the east of the volcanoes (right in the image) is the crisscross valley system of Noctis Labyrinthus, and beyond this is the much larger Valles Marineris (in the upper right of the image). This giant rift valley is lighter in colour because it is filled with morning clouds in this view. The planet’s north and south pole are to the upper left and lower right respectively.

The Hope mission is designed to study the Martian atmosphere to help understand how water has been lost from this once more Earth-like planet.

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