By Isaac Akugizibwe
KIU, Main Campus - NASA, China and United Arab Emirates are expected to arrive on Planet Mars this February.
NASA's Perseverance rover, the Chinese space agency's Tianwen-1 and the United Arab Emirates' Hope have spent the last seven months hurtling through space.
According to a Chinese technology news website CNET, NASA’s Perseverance rover is the only mission set to land on Mars with an expected arrival date of February 18, though all the three spacecraft will make it to orbit this month.
The same site indicates that, UAE's Hope, or Al Amal, and China's Tianwen-1 are expected to perform Mars Orbital Insertion (MOI) maneuvers within a day of each other on February 9 and Februrary 10, respectively.
Hope will remain in orbit and analyze the Martian atmosphere, but Tianwen-1 will attempt something only achieved by two other nations: landing on Mars unfriendly surface. China is expected to release Tianwen-1's lander and rover duo sometime in May.
NASA wrote on their official website that the Mars 2020 Mission will seek signs of ancient life by studying Martian Terrain that once held flowing rivers and lakes.
Sometime around 3.5 billion years ago, a river there flowed into a body of water about the size of Lake Tahoe, depositing sediments in a fan shape known as a delta. The Perseverance science team believes this ancient river delta and lake deposits could have collected and preserved organic molecules and other potential signs of microbial life.