UAE: MBRSC partners with local, international entities to develop science programme for Lunar Mission

The collaboration will also support the development of the main instruments aboard the Rashid Rover


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 15 Dec 2021, 6:07 PM

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) is collaborating with local and international entities, to develop the science programme for the Emirates Lunar Mission and support the development of the main instruments aboard the Rashid Rover.

MBRSC’s Emirates Lunar Mission team will build the Rashid Rover and its scientific instrumentation, while the partners will support the development of the instruments and analysis of data.

This will include the development of the Langmuir probe (that will determine the plasma around moon), as well as assist in data collection, landing site research, calibration strategies and data analysis.

Salem Humaid AlMarri, director-general of MBRSC, said: “The partnership with local and international partners demonstrates the possibilities that the Emirates Lunar Mission’s science programme offers academia. Students and early researchers are already participating in the development of this lunar rover project and are contributing to making qualitative developments in the fields of science, communication technologies and robotics. Furthermore, the impact of these developments will extend beyond the space sector and into various vital sectors in the UAE and around the world.”

Meanwhile, the MBRSC has designed a science package consisting of a set of lightweight but powerful instruments that will be aboard the Rashid Rover.

These instruments will enable the rover to measure a carefully selected set of environmental conditions on the lunar surface.

MBRSC partners with French company

MBRSC has partnered with the Centre for Petrographic and Geochemical Research at Universite de Lorraine in Nancy (France) to work on the characterisation of the conditions at the landing sites and analysis of the data from the rover’s microscopic imager.

This microscopic imager, which was conceptualised by MBRSC, will obtain the highest resolution image from the lunar surface and provide an unprecedented view of the undisturbed topmost layer of the lunar regolith.

It is this upper layer which will show the imprint of the formation and evolution of the lunar surface at its smallest scales.

Langmuir probes

Furthermore, through its collaboration with the University of Oslo in Norway, the team is developing the Langmuir probes that will study the plasma around the Moon.

The data will help the scientific community to understand how charged particles interact with the lunar surface. It is thought that this interaction can lift dust particles and carry them for certain distances.

Collaboration with CNES

Earlier, the MBRSC had forged a collaboration with the French space agency that will provide sophisticated cameras enabling high resolution images for the country’s Lunar Mission.

MBRSC has partnered with the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), which is the French government space agency, to deliver two optical cameras for Space Exploration (CASPEX) for the Rashid Rover.


Local partners

In the UAE, a team at New York University Abu Dhabi will work on the microscopic camera calibration, as well as investigate the interaction of the rover's surface materials with the solar radiation. This is of great importance to interpret the measurements of the plasma sheath.

Landing site

Meanwhile, the MBRSC has narrowed down the location where it intends to land its lunar rover, which is within a circle of 4km on the north-eastern part of the Moon’s near side.

Available data of landing sites will also enable the team to find interesting targets that will help better understand the topography, geography and features of the rock and dust.

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