Watch Live As Hope Mars Probe Enters Orbit in First of Three Red Planet Missions This Month

This month, three Mars missions will arrive at their destination—and you can watch the first one enter the Red Planet's orbit live online.

The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM)—led by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in collaboration with several U.S. research institutions—is expected to enter the Red Planet's orbit on February 9, 2021, at 10:41 a.m. ET.

If you would like to follow the event, the EMM website will be hosting a broadcast of the Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) event, with the stream starting at 9 a.m. ET on February 9.

The mission involves an orbiter named "Hope" ("Al Amal" in Arabic) that will spend one Martian year—equivalent to around two years on Earth—in orbit around the Red Planet.

The aim of the interplanetary mission—the first undertaken by an Arab nation—is to provide a complete and unprecedented picture of the Martian atmosphere and its layers.

Scientists hope data collected by the mission will shed light on key questions regarding the global Martian atmosphere and the loss of hydrogen and oxygen gases into space, as well as the weather dynamics of the planet.

This data will provide insights into planetary evolution, while also enabling improved weather forecasting, which will benefit future Mars missions.

"The launch of Mars Hope comes at the end of a six-year journey of development by the team at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre working together with our knowledge partners, an accelerated time frame by interplanetary mission standards," Omran Sharaf, mission lead for EMM, said in a statement.

"The mission has truly transformed The Emirates' capability in space systems engineering, science and research and had enormous positive impacts on our science community in general," he said.

The MOI phase, in which Hope will position itself in such a way that it is captured by the Red Planet's orbit, precedes the main science phase of the mission.

The EMM launched in July 2020, the same month that China and the United States, both established players in space exploration, launched their own Mars missions.

All three were timed to take advantage of a window when Earth and Mars were particularly close to each other, cutting down the journey time from nine to seven months.

The American and Chinese missions—known as Mars 2020 and Tianwen-1 respectively—will both arrive later in February, soon after Hope is scheduled to enter the Red Planet's orbit.

Unlike EMM, these missions will both involve landers that will attempt to touch down on the surface of the Red Planet and explore it from the ground.

The Emirates Mars Mission control center
Emirati men are pictured at the mission control center for the "Hope" Mars probe at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai on July 19, 2020, ahead of its expected launch from Japan. GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images