The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the launch of a lunar exploration program, within the framework of which they intend to land a four-wheeled lunar rover on the surface of the Earth’s satellite in 2024.
As part of the program, in 2024, a 10-kg lunar rover is to make a soft landing on the surface of the Earth satellite, in an area that has not been previously explored. It will be four-wheeled and equipped with solar panels, two high-resolution cameras, a microscopic camera, a thermal imagery camera for microscopic soil research, and other scientific instruments, and its task will be to study the properties of the lunar regolith.
The project would be built entirely on state land and by Emirati engineers. That is different from the previous UAE mission to Mars, which was developed in conjunction with several American universities and built at the University of Colorado. The Sheikh added that any data discovered would be shared with each and every research center in the world.
The rover will be named “Rashid,” the same name of Voice President’s late father, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Sheikh Rashid was one of the original founding rulers of the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula.
“It will be a100% Emirati-made lunar explorer that will land on the surface of the moon in 2024 in areas not reached by previous human missions to explore,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, said on Twitter. If successful, the UAE will be the fourth nation, after the Soviet Union, the United States, and China, to reach our closest neighbor. Several others, including India and Israel, have tried unsuccessfully to make the same trip.
Sheikh Mohammed’s statement comes after the UAE launched a Mars probe earlier this year. In July, the UAE’s first interplanetary mission, Amal (Hope) probe, was launched from Japan. As part of the Amal project, the UAE plans to land on Mars by 2021.