UAE to launch probe targeting asteroid between Mars, Jupiter

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced plans to send a probe to land on an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter to collect data on the origins of the universe, the latest project in the oil-rich federation’s ambitious space programme. Of.

A successful landing would see the United Arab Emirates join an elite club of the European Union, Japan and the United States who have accomplished the feat on an asteroid or comet. The probe will remain behind on the asteroid, sending information back to Earth on the asteroid’s composition as long as its battery remains charged.

The project targets a 2028 launch with landing in 2033, a five-year journey in which the spacecraft will travel approximately 2.2 billion miles. The spacecraft would need to catapult first Venus and then around Earth to gather enough momentum to reach an asteroid some 350 million miles away.

Sarah Al-Amiri, chair of the UAE Space Agency, said it was still under discussion what data the emirate would collect, but the mission would be an even bigger challenge, as the spacecraft would travel both near and far from the Sun. and Minister of State for Advanced Technology.

“As this comes on the back of the Emirates Mars mission, it’s a number of factors that are difficult, but increasingly difficult,” Al-Amiri told the Associated Press. “If we went on to accomplish this mission from the get-go without the background of the Emirates Mars mission, it would be very difficult to achieve.”

According to NASA, about 1.1 million known asteroids roam the Solar System, the remnants of its formation. Most orbit the Sun in the region between Mars and Jupiter targeted by the planned Emirates mission. His creation contains the building blocks of the world we now know.

The UAE space agency said it would partner with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado on this project. It declined to immediately offer costs for the effort or describe what particular features of the asteroid it wanted to study. Al-Amiri said discussions are ongoing about what instruments the spacecraft will carry, which in turn will affect what features it can observe.

The project comes after Emirates successfully carried out the Amal, or “Hope” probe in orbit around Mars in February. The car-sized Amal cost $200 million to build and launch. This does not include operating costs on Mars. Given its challenges, asteroid missions are likely to be more expensive.

Emirates is planning to send an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in 2024. The country, which is home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, has also set an ambitious goal of building a human colony on Mars by 2117 – but its more immediate goal is building both a private and state-backed space economy with its projects. .

“It’s difficult. It’s challenging,” Al-Amiri said of the asteroid project. “We fully understand and understand this, but we understand the benefits of taking on such large, challenging programs and projects. “

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