Japanese lunar robotics company ispace announced that it is working to deliver the United Arab Emirates’ lunar rover to the moon in 2022.
A team of engineers and scientists is based from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center MBRSC In Dubai, it is building the Lunar Rover, while ispace is transporting it via the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The missile is supposed to be launched from Florida, with the aim of reaching an area across the moon that has not been previously explored, and this mission represents the first lunar mission of ispace.
The Japanese startup says it is also supplying the UAE with lunar communications technology.
According to Adnan Al Rayes, Director of the Mars 2117 Program at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, ispace also equips the probe that takes the spacecraft from lunar orbit to the lunar surface.
Only three countries – the United States, Russia and China – have successfully landed a spacecraft across the surface of the Moon.
The United Arab Emirates had originally planned to send the LMR in 2024, but Al Rayyes said: The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center saw an opportunity to launch even earlier with ispace.
The UAE mission hopes to learn more about lunar dust, lunar soil and airless objects, which are space objects that lack an atmosphere.
One of the experiments could also help determine the types of materials used in spacesuits or landing systems used to place humans on the moon, and the landing site will be announced soon, Rayyes says.
The Lunar Roving Module, Rashid, is named after the former ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, and carries six tools and weighs less than 10 kg.
The lunar rover collects data and images and sends them to scientists on Earth, using two high-resolution cameras, a microscope camera and a thermal imaging camera.
Among the challenges it faces is adapting to the harsh environment on the moon, where temperatures can reach minus 200 degrees Celsius.
NASA is aiming to send a $ 250 million rover called VIPER to the south pole of the moon in 2023.
Other countries, including the United Kingdom, Russia and Japan, also have plans for missions to the moon.
Its vision is to build a settlement across the moon by 2040, says ispace, and its first step is to search for water.
The Emirates Lunar Mission is part of a broader strategy for the UAE to reach Mars by the year 2117.
Scientists say: The unmanned moon mission could be a building block towards this project.
Last year, the UAE successfully launched the Hope probe, the country’s first Mars mission.
In February, the probe reached the red planet and entered orbit around the planet on its first attempt.
Al Rayes said: The moon is our gateway to Mars, and our Mars 2117 strategy is our long-term vision to build a settlement across the surface of Mars.
He added: In order to do this we need to focus on developing some sciences and technologies, and use the moon to test these technologies.