February 2021 is a stellar month in the world of space news, as multiple Martian robots will be roaming the red planet, looking for signs of ancient life. If all goes accordingly, spacecrafts from The United Arab Emirates, China, and NASA will arrive and begin their space missions on Mars in the next few weeks!
The United Arab Emirates' Hope probe (Al Amal) was launched in July 2020. This probe is set to circle Mars on a 55 day orbit, analyzing its atmosphere. On The 9th of this month, it's set to perform a Mars Orbital Insertion (MOI) as it prepares to circle the red planet to produce one of the most complete pictures of its atmosphere ever! A successful MOI is quite complex, however, it would make the UAE the fifth nation to reach Mars, following the US, Russia, China and India.
China's Tianwen-1 spacecraft is on its way to Mars, which would make China the third nation to successfully land on the red planet. This spacecraft is carrying a Martian orbiter, lander, and rover will make its own insertion just a day after Hope.
Perseverance will touch down on Mars on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, at approximately 12:30 p.m. PT. It will have to take on the "famous Seven Minutes of Terror" slowing down from an extreme speed of around 12,000 miles per hour to make full stop on the surface in just 420 seconds! That's a big feat. Perseverance and China's Tianwen-1 lander and rover will also be analyzing Mar's dirt. Did we mention that NASA might fly the first helicopter in space too? The Perseverance Rover holds the robotic helicopter named Ingenuity that will be the first helicopter fly on Mars -- if all goes to plan!