The United Arab Emirates announced plans to launch an asteriod missions, which will visit seven asteroids in 2028.
This will be the UAE’s second interplanetary mission. The Emirates Mars Mission arrived on Mars in February. It began its official science run May 23.
Space.com reported that the EMM launched Hope to the Red Planet, an orbiter, in July 2020.
Chair of the UAE Space Agency, Sarah Al Amiri, was quoted as saying that “our goal is clear: To accelerate the development innovation and knowledge-based enterprise in the Emirates.”
“This cannot be achieved by staying in a steady state; it requires leaps of imagination, faith, and pursuits that are beyond the prudent or methodical.
“When we embarked upon the Emirates Mars Mission we took on a six year task that was five times more complicated than the Earth-observation satellites that we were developing. Al Amiri stated that this mission was five times more complicated than EMM.
The name of the new asteroid mission has yet to be revealed. It will fly speed-boosting flybys over Venus and Earth in 2028 and 2029 respectively and then make its way to the main asteroid belt between Mars, Jupiter, and 2030.
The probe will examine seven asteroids in detail over the course its mission. It will then land on a space rock in 2033.
Only a few missions have been able to make soft landings on an asteroid — NASA’s Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous, (NEAR), Shoemaker, and OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and Japan’s Hayabusa1 or Hayabusa2 probes.
The UAE will be working with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder. This is also a key partner in the Hope Mars mission.
Officials from the UAE said that the science goals and instruments of the asteroid mission will be revealed in the next year.
According to the report, an asteroid mission will also include the delivery of a Rashid moon rover to the lunar surface in 2022.