United Arab Emirates launches asteroid-targeting probe between Mars and Jupiter

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates announced on Tuesday plans to send a spacecraft to land on an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter to collect data on the origin of the universe. This is the latest project in the oil-rich federal ambitious space program.

Upon successful landing, the UAE will join the elite clubs of the European Union, Japan and the United States, which have achieved great achievements. The probe remains behind the asteroid and sends information about the asteroid’s composition back to Earth as long as the battery is charged.

The project aims for a launch in 2028 and a landing in 2033. This is a five-year journey in which the spacecraft travels about 2.2 billion miles. The spacecraft must first hit a slingshot around Venus and then gather enough speed to reach an asteroid about 350 million miles away around Earth.

What data Emirates collects is still under debate, but given that spacecraft move near and far from the Sun, missions are even bigger than before. Probably, said Sara Al Amiri, chairman of the UAE Space Agency, Minister of State for Advanced Technology.

“Because it’s behind the Emirates Mars mission, it’s not exponentially difficult, but several factors are difficult,” Al-Amiri told The Associated Press. “If we try to accomplish this mission from the beginning without the background we currently have from the Emirates Mars mission, it will be very difficult to achieve.”

According to NASA, about 1.1 million known asteroids circulate in the solar system, the wreckage of their formation. Most orbit the Sun in the area between Mars and Jupiter, which is the subject of the planned Emirati mission. Their composition contains the components of the world that we currently know.

The United Arab Emirates space agency has announced that it will partner with the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics on this project. It refused to immediately provide the cost of the effort or explain the specific characteristics of the asteroid that it wanted to study. Al-Amiri said discussions are underway on what equipment the spacecraft will carry, which will affect the observable capabilities of the spacecraft.

The project begins after Emirates successfully places an Amal (“hope”) probe in orbit around Mars in February. The car-sized Amal cost $ 200 million to manufacture and launch. This does not include operating costs on Mars. Asteroid missions will probably be more expensive given the challenges.

Emirates plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2024. Home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the country has also set an ambitious goal of building a human colony on Mars by 2117, but the more pressing goal is construction. Both private and state-sponsored space economies under the project.

“It’s difficult. It’s challenging,” Al Amiri said of the asteroid project. “We fully understand and understand it, but we understand the benefits of working on such a large and rewarding program or project.”

John Gambrel

Associated Press