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Emirates Mars Mission 'Science Lead' calls ISRO 'an important voice among the world's young space nations'

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Hessa Al Matroushi, ‘Science Lead’ for the Emirates Mars mission, calls ISRO an ‘important voice among the world’s young space nations’.

The Emirates Mars mission was launched in 2020 by the United Arab Emirates Space Agency for Mars exploration.

The UAE Space Agency was established in 2014, but ISRO was established more than 50 years ago in August 1969.

Al Matroushi joined the Emirates Mars Mission scientific team in 2015, conducting research on the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMU) instrument. Her work has been published in several papers, particularly in the analysis of models simulating thermospheric oxygen evolution on Mars.

Recently, the Emirates Mars mission, in collaboration with NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) mission, discovered a new kind of ‘spotted’ proton aurora on Mars.

Speaking to WION’s diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal, she explained the significance of the find.

WION: Please explain the “Proton Aurora” to our readers.

Hessa al-Matrusi: The new auroras discovered by the Emirates Mars mission are called patchy proton auroras, and are a completely new and previously unimaginable behavior of the Martian atmosphere. Previous missions have observed proton auroras, broad dayside glows caused by sparse hydrogen atoms in the planet’s atmosphere interacting with the solar wind (the stream of fast particles emitted from the Sun).

But the Emirates Mars mission’s Hope probe was something of a game changer, as its unique elliptical orbit covers the planet almost completely every nine days. This means that you can see the entire planet with greater coverage and fidelity, at any time of the day or night, and throughout the seasons.

Therefore, observations of the daytime atmosphere during periods of high solar activity show that the proton auroras are not actually uniform, but rather have large turbulent flows, especially those interacting with hydrogen atoms. . A chaotic solar wind like you’ve never seen before. This turbulence has many triggers, and observations made by NASA’s MAVEN mission helped. By correlating MAVEN data with data from EMM’s Hope probe, we were able to investigate some of the possible causes of this chaotic behavior. .

WION: How important is this discovery and your collaboration with NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) mission?

Hessa al-Matrusi: This is the third unique observation Hope made of the auroras on Mars. We have previously made planetary-scale observations of discrete night-side auroras corresponding to the planet’s unique crustal magnetosphere. A discrete aurora that spans nearly half the planet. All these new phenomena give us insight into the interactions between the Martian atmosphere and the solar wind. This is important in understanding how the Martian atmosphere was lost. It is believed that Mars once had a rich atmosphere that could support life. , there is running water on the surface of the planet. How this turned into today’s dead planet is one of the questions Hope set him to better understand.

Data from MAVEN provided context for our observations and helped us better understand the environment responsible for patchy proton auroras. Our published paper on this new phenomenon was made possible by a linked data-sharing collaboration between the Emirates Mars mission and MAVEN. I think this paper shows how important collaboration between nations and missions is for space exploration.

WION: What can we expect next after the Emirates Mars Mission?

Hessa al-Matrusi: Basically more data. All data collected at Hope Observatory is published quarterly and is freely available to researchers, scientists and hobbyists around the world at the Emirates Mars Mission Science Data Center ( can be used for

WION: Is cooperation between the Emirates Mars Mission and ISRO in India underway?

Hessa Al Matroushi: We believe that cooperation between nations, missions, space agencies and the burgeoning private sector in the space sector is critical to future space exploration. This is one of the main reasons the UAE launched the Abu Dhabi Space Debate. This is a new global forum designed to create a platform to address the critical issues we all face to move forward. The need for international cooperation and cooperation in the development of the space sector is more urgent than ever. The Abu Dhabi Space Forum is a global platform for leaders and policymakers to review the future opportunities and challenges of the space sector and move forward as well as global dialogue. We will build not only cooperation between nations, but also concrete alliances and multilateral agreements that move the entire sector forward. This year he will have his first debate in Abu Dhabi on December 5th and 6th. We hope that this forum will be an opportunity to make tangible progress in advancing international cooperation, standards and policy setting in the global space sector. Critically, we hope that ISRO will become a key voice among the world’s young space nations and a key partner in the ongoing debate.