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The first prototype of Rashid Rover, Arab world’s first mission to the moon, has undergone a successful functional testing.

Dubai: The first prototype of Rashid Rover, Arab world’s first mission to the moon, has undergone a successful functional testing, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) announced on Wednesday.

In a video tweeted by MBRSC, members of the Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM) are seen checking the parts of the UAE-made lunar rover.

MBRSC noted “The team has completed the functional testing of the prototype at MBRSC laboratories and is currently preparing for robustness testing which will be performed in simulated space and lunar environments as part of the preparations for the mission’s launch to the surface of the moon in 2022.”

Functional Testing is an assessment used to test the features/functionality of the system or software, cover all the scenarios while robustness testing is the process of verifying whether or not a software system performs well under stress conditions. Robustness testing is also done to verify the robustness or correctness of a test process.

Emirati moon rover

Rashid is an Emirati-made lunar rover named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. It is touted as the smallest and lightest rover to be deployed on the surface of the moon. Its height is 70cm, length is 50cm and width is 50cm. Its weight is approximately 10kg with payload.

Rashid will be launched next year, two years ahead of the original schedule. The exact landing site is yet to be revealed, but the rover will travel to a part of the moon that has never been reached before. Its mission is to better understand how lunar dust and rocks vary across the moon.

Rashid will be deployed aboard Japan’s ispace robotic lunar lander called Hakuto-R that will land on the near side of the moon, which offers a smoother surface with less craters. If successful, the UAE and Japan will together become the fourth entity to land on the lunar surface, after the United States, former Soviet Union and China.

In a previous interview with Gulf News, Dr Hamad Al Marzooqi, ELM project manager at MBRSC, said: “Rashid Rover has a unique mission to explore a new area on the moon that has not been explored before. It will generate a huge amount of very useful scientific data to understand the geography and physical properties of the lunar surface”.

Dr Hamad Al Marzooqi, project manager of Emirates Lunar Mission with Rashid Rover prototype. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Lunar gateway

Rashid Rover will capture multiple images and send those back to the control room in Dubai. The ELM team will also test new technologies in material science, robotics, mobility, navigation and communications, specially designed to survive and function in the harsh lunar environment.

Al Marzooqi noted: “The moon is an excellent platform to test new technologies and to do useful scientific research. There are also fforts are being made by different international space agencies to develop the lunar gateway.

“It will be like an International Space Station orbiting the moon that will be used to ferry scientific experiments and conduct activities to land on the surface of the moon or used to go to other celestial bodies,” he explained.

Al Marzooqi added: “Alongside the lunar gateway, there are also efforts to build base stations for human settlement on the moon that can be used to support longer human missions. The moon will also be used as a base camp where we fuel and continue the journey to farther celestial bodies in our solar system.”