UAE seeks to join Nasa in efforts to land first woman on the Moon

Rashid Rover, the first Arab mission to the Moon in 2022, on display at the Dubai Airshow


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Mon 15 Nov 2021, 5:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 15 Nov 2021, 10:48 PM

The UAE is aiming to be a part of Nasa’s Artemis programme which is looking to land the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon.

Top officials from the UAE Space Agency made this announcement during the Dubai Airshow on Monday.

“I cannot speak on behalf of MBRSC but we are committing to certain aspects of the development of Nasa’s Artemis programme,” said Ibrahim Al Qasim, executive director of the UAE Space Agency.

Nasa has been working hard towards Artemis’ first crewed landing on the Moon in 2025.

Meanwhile, the engineering model of the Rashid Rover, the first Arab mission to the Moon set for a 2022 launch, is on display at the Dubai Airshow.

Salem Al Mulla, aerospace engineer, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), said: “We have finished the EQM model which is the engineering qualification model. We’ve finished the thermal vacuum chamber testing. We’ve finished the vibration test which includes random testing, shock testing and COG measurements of the Rashid Rover. We are going to the Moon year in the upcoming weeks and after that we will start manufacturing of flight models. We are on track.”

The AI-equipped lunar rover named Rashid will be sent to the Moon next year with the aid of Japan’s ispace, that will provide payload delivery services to the UAE.

The rover will land in the ‘Lake of Dreams’ — an unexplored area on the lunar surface — to study the soil, and generate thousands of images and useful science data throughout the lunar day.

The CASPEX camera on top of the rover’s mast will provide panoramic visibility of the rover surroundings.

The rear-mounted CASPEX camera will deliver images of the lunar soil with high spatial resolution.

Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, director-general, MBRSC, said: “The UAE aims to lead an innovative and sustainable exploration of the moon through the Emirates Lunar Mission. We believe that collaboration is the way forward for space exploration and the more we work together to tackle challenges for the good of humanity, the greater our collective prospects for the future.”

While the temperature on the Moon varies dramatically between day and night, one of the biggest challenges that the rover faces is withstanding the harsh lunar environment, where the temperature can reach minus 200 degrees Celsius.

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