The NYUAD Mars Map.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) group leader and research scientist Dimitra Atri from the Centre for Space Science and his team have created a never-seen-before map of Mars, using images exclusively created from the Emirates Exploration Imager (EXI). The EXI is a state-of-the-art imaging system on-board the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), also known as Hope or Al-Amal, which is currently orbiting Mars.
The global photographic map not only showcases new images of the Red Planet from the perspective of the Hope probe, but is a testament to the UAE’s huge advancements in the field of science, and will be a valuable resource to motivate young people to pursue careers in STEM disciplines in the UAE. The Mars Map combines more than 3,000 observations, produced by Hope’s on board EXI instrument. Atri and his team created the colour composite map by stitching together the thousands of observations from the EXI instrument over the course of one Mars year (two Earth years).
Commenting on the project, Atri said: “We plan to make our map available to the entire planet, as part of the new and more advanced Atlas of Mars, which we have been working on, and will be available in both English and Arabic once published. 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.”
The Mars Map shows regions and features of the Red Planet in exceptional resolution, highlighting all its major features. For example, polar ice caps, mountains, volcanoes, remnants of ancient rivers, lakes, valleys, and impact craters are visible. 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 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 added. “More than 30 previous spacecraft have only managed to capture a snapshot of the Mars weather, whilst EMM will follow the seasonal changes throughout a Martian year. The Hope Probe is helping researchers to create this global image of the planet due to its strategic position. Hope 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 planet,” he said. EMM is the UAE and the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission commissioned by the country’s leaders in 2014. The spacecraft was launched from Japan on July 20, 2020. Seven months later, on February 9, 2021, the Hope Probe entered Mars’ orbit. About NYU Abu Dhabi: NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective programme with majors in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts, and humanities with a world centre for advanced research.
Its campus enables students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world, and to advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from some 125 countries and speak over 100 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.
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