The spacecraft will travel to an asteroid called Justitia, which could provide insights into the origin of life on Earth.
The United Arab Emirates is planning to send a spacecraft to explore the solar system’s main asteroid belt to unearth clues about the origin of life on Earth.
The country on Monday unveiled plans for the UAE Asteroid Belt Mission, which it hopes will launch in 2028 after the spacecraft is built to study seven asteroids.
According to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, the 13-year project will span six years of development and seven years of exploration, spanning more than 5 billion kilometers (about 3 billion miles) ) and beyond Mars.
The spacecraft was named MBR after the leader.
“The extraordinary journey will be 10 times the distance covered by the hope probe,” said Al Maktoum, referring to the UAE’s February 2021 mission to Mars.
.@HHShkMohd: At Qasr Al Watan, we unveiled the details of one of our most important projects in space: the Emirates Asteroid Belt Mission. The ambitious 13-year project includes 6 years of development and 7 years of exploration. MBR Explorer’s Journey… pic.twitter.com/LUzbarKhFX
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) May 29, 2023
The Hope probe made the UAE the first and second Arab country to successfully orbit Mars.
The latest spacecraft, if successful, will fly at 33,000 kilometers (20,500 miles) per hour, reach six asteroids and end up at a seventh called Justitia in 2034, which could take us even deeper Learn about the origin of life on Earth.
This could be done by studying the source of organic compounds such as water found on some asteroids. Justitia in particular is thought to have many organic substances on its surface.
“It’s one of the two reddest objects in the asteroid belt, and scientists don’t really understand why it’s so red,” Hoor al-Maazmi, a space science researcher at the UAE Space Agency, said of Justitia.
“There are theories that it originally came from the Kuiper belt, where there are more red objects. So that’s one thing we can look at, because it’s also potentially rich in water,” she added.
The explorer, to be developed by a private UAE start-up, could be the start of the country’s aspirations to extract resources from asteroids, and possibly even its ambitious goal of establishing a colony on Mars by 2117.
The Bay Area has been innovating in this area in recent years.
last week, two Saudi astronaut First trip to the International Space Station (ISS).
Last month, Emirati astronaut Sultan al-Neyadi became the first Arab to perform a spacewalk.
In 2019, Hazzaa al-Mansoori, also from the UAE, became First Arab to reach the International Space Station.