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Science results from Emirates Mars Mission trigger new discoveries

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DUBAI, 14th December, 2021 (WAM) — The Emirates Mars Mission, the first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab nation, has triggered a rush of new observations, discoveries and insights into Mars’ unique atmosphere, its composition and dynamics.

With key announcements already made including new and startling observations of Mars’ discrete aurora and unprecedented views of dayside oxygen and carbon monoxide structures in the planet’s atmosphere, new avenues of exploration are now being opened up by the slew of data being brought back from the Hope spacecraft. For the first time, Hope is building a full diurnal picture of Mars’ atmosphere.

"The success of Hope is already assured from our early results and observations and we can already see a vast number of new potential avenues of exploration opening up as a result of our early data," said Emirates Mars Mission Science Lead, Hessa Al Matroushi. "We are seeing Mars in remarkable detail and are able to characterise the diurnal behaviours of Mars’ atmosphere for the first time ever. The potential we are now seeing from the mission undoubtedly exceeds our expectations."

Papers and posters being shared and presented at the AGU21 Fall Meeting in New Orleans reflect the unique picture of Mars’ atmosphere being built by EMM’s Hope Probe, with a combination of Hope’s advanced instrumentation and smart elliptical orbit providing new views of the Martian atmosphere at all times through the day, night and seasons of the Red Planet.

Christopher S. Edwards, EMIRS Instrument Lead, said, "The ability of EMM to observe Mars at all local times on short timescales enables the daily variation of these clouds to be studied. The EMIRS observations show that clouds are thickest and cover the most area early in the morning and late in evening with fewer clouds near midday. The comparison of clouds observed by EMIRS at thermal-infrared wavelengths to those observed by EXI at visible wavelengths can provide further information about the clouds, such as size of the water ice aerosols that make up the clouds."

"As on the earth, clouds on Mars are an important part of the water cycle and characterising how they change from hour-to-hour and day-to-day is an important part in understanding both the present and past climates," said Michael Wolff, EXI Instrument Lead.

Filling a crucial gap in our understanding of Mars and meeting its mission objective of addressing a number of science goals defined by MEPAG (the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group), Hope’s ground-breaking observations are available to scientists and enthusiasts globally, uploaded to the EMM Science Data Centre and available freely from the emm.ae website.

Hope set out to measure the global, diurnal and seasonal response of the Martian atmosphere to solar forcing; the atmospheric conditions relating to the rate of atmospheric escape – particularly of Hydrogen and Oxygen and the temporal and spatial behaviour of Mars’ exosphere. With early results showing exciting observations of Mars’ discrete aurora and additional bandwidth and resources available to encompass additional observations, further measurements of auroral phenomena have been brought into the mission’s goals, extending its capabilities beyond Hope’s planned goals.

Mars Hope carries three instruments; the Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI) digital camera, which captures images of Mars with a resolution of 2 to 4 km along with measuring the amount of water ice and ozone in the lower atmosphere through the UV bands; the Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer (EMIRS), which measures the emitted energy from the martian surface and atmosphere, deriving the global distribution of dust, ice cloud, and water vapor in the Martian lower atmosphere, and the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), which measures oxygen and carbon monoxide in the thermosphere and the variability of hydrogen and oxygen in the exosphere.

"By comparing the images of hydrogen that we gain from the EMUS instrument to the maps of water ice, water vapor, and dust acquired by the EXI and EMIRS instruments, scientists will be able to reconstruct the details of how hydrogen is transported through the Martian atmosphere and how water has been lost from the planet over the history of the Solar System," Said EMM Deputy Science Lead and EMUS Instrument Lead Justin Deighan. "Thanks to the uniquely large orbit of the Hope probe around Mars, the instruments on the Hope probe are able to view the planet from different points of view across all times of day, bringing powerful new insights to our understanding of Mars’ atmospheric dynamics."

The Mission’s Hope Probe is following its planned 20,000 – 43,000 km elliptical science orbit, with an inclination to Mars of 25 degrees, giving it a unique ability to complete one orbit of the planet every 55 hours and capture a full planetary data sample every nine days throughout its one Martian year (two Earth year) mission to map Mar’s atmospheric dynamics.

EMM and the Hope probe are the culmination of a knowledge transfer and development effort started in 2006, which has seen Emirati engineers working with partners around the world to develop the UAE’s spacecraft design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Hope is a fully autonomous spacecraft, carrying three instruments to measure Mars’ atmosphere. Weighing some 1,350 kg, and approximately the size of a small SUV, the spacecraft was designed and developed by MBRSC engineers working with academic partners, including LASP at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Arizona State University, the University of California, Berkeley, Space Science Institute, Boulder and Northern Arizona University.

The Hope Probe’s historic journey to the Red Planet coincided with a year of celebrations to mark the UAE’s Golden Jubilee.

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Emirates

Omar Al Olama meets Colombian Minister of Science

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DUBAI, 20th January, 2022 (WAM) — Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Teleworking Applications, said that the UAE Government is advancing its international partnerships and cooperation with various governments, through sharing successful practices in various sectors.

He made this statement during his meeting with Tito José Crissien, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia, at the Colombian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

During the meeting, Al Olama stressed that the UAE is keen to share successful experiences and practices in advanced technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) with Colombia. It will help identify opportunities that will support the transformation to a sustainable knowledge-based economy, through deploying advanced technologies in business development.

He also lauded Colombia’s efforts to deploy advanced technologies in all areas of work and its role in teaching digital skills and developing human capital in this field.

In his meeting with Colombian officials, Al Olama presented the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence and the country’s related achievements and major programmes and initiatives recently launched, most notably the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, the first university of its kind in the world, and digital schools in developing countries which aim to end digital illiteracy.

The sides also discussed ways of encouraging the exchange of expertise and successful practices to face future challenges and utilising digital solutions and advanced technologies to establish new government action models that will support their comprehensive digital transformation.

The meeting then discussed ways of strengthening their partnerships and enhancing their cooperation in capacity building and exchanging expertise, in addition to holding training programmes for young students in Colombia.

The meeting presented Colombia’s achievements in identifying AI ethics and explained its sustainable development goals.

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Emirates

UAE announces 3,014 new COVID-19 cases, 1,067 recoveries, 4 deaths in last 24 hours

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ABU DHABI, 20th January, 2022 (WAM) — The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announced that it conducted 504,831 additional COVID-19 tests over the past 24 hours, using state-of-the-art medical testing equipment.

In a statement, the Ministry stressed its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment. As part of its intensified testing campaign, MoHAP announced 3,014 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the UAE to 816,945.

According to the Ministry, the infected individuals are from various nationalities, are in a stable condition, and receiving the necessary care.

MoHAP also announced 4 deaths due to COVID-19 complications, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 2,204.

The Ministry expressed its sincere condolences to the family of the deceased and wished COVID-19 patients a speedy and full recovery. It called on all members of the society to cooperate with health authorities, adhere to the instructions and physical distance to ensure the health and safety of all.

MoHAP also noted that an additional 1,067 individuals had fully recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 764,731.

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Emirates

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi publishes ‘Our Sheikhs, Our Role Model’ in braille for visually impaired students

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ABU DHABI, 20th January, 2022 (WAM) — A new book for visually impaired students detailing the inspiring role of the UAE’s leadership has been published in braille by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).

‘Our Sheikhs, Our Role Model’, has been produced by MAKTABA, the library management department at DCT Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO), represented by its Department of Care for the Blind.

The book features students’ creative writings on topics related to the principles and values of the UAE’s leadership. It covers various topics about national identity, as well as students’ ideas inspired by the leadership’s vision, principles and creativity.

Through the initiative, which is part of the ninth edition of the Little Writer in the Big Book competition, MAKTABA aims to enable visually impaired students to participate in the competition and deepen their knowledge of the history of the UAE.

Naema Al Mansouri, Member of the National Federal Council and Director of the ZHO’s Department of Care for the Blind, said, "Issuing a braille edition of ‘Our Sheikhs, Our Role Model’ will enrich the National Blind Libraries with additional resources, while enabling students to participate in the Little Writer in the Big Book competition to stimulate their creative writing skills."

Shaikha Mohamed AlMehairi, Library Management Department Director at DCT Abu Dhabi, said, "We thank our partners for their valuable contribution to this initiative that expands reading capabilities. Over its past editions, the Little Writer in the Big Book competition has inspired children and teenagers’ writing and creativity by offering them an ideal platform to unleash their storytelling skills. In this year’s edition, MAKTABA widens its target audience by giving those students with visual impairment greater access to books and inspiring them to learn more about our nation’s history and values."

MAKTABA will announce the winners of the ninth edition in the Little Writer in the Big Book competition on 6 February 2022, before posting the stories and creations of the entrants on the Digital Library’s website. The winning stories will be compiled and printed in one book, which will be distributed to libraries and public and private schools across Abu Dhabi.

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