Dubai: While Hope Probe, the first Arab interplanetary mission, is orbiting around Mars and readying for its two-year science data gathering phase, the UAE is working towards completing the design of ‘Rashid’, an Emirati-made lunar rover named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the builder of modern Dubai.
The Dubai Media Office (DMO) tweeted on Wednesday: “As the #UAE celebrates the achievement of the @HopeMarsMission probe, a group of Emirati scientists is already engaged in another historic feat: building a lunar rover. The vehicle will be another regional first — & it is smaller than any rover to have landed on the moon.”
This will not only be the first lunar mission from the Arab world but will also make the UAE only the fourth country in the world to land on the Moon — after the United States, the former Soviet Union and China.
Smallest and lightest
‘Rashid’ will also have the distinction of the being the smallest rover to have landed on the moon. To be built at a height of 70cm (2.3ft).
It will be the lightest lunar rover, weighing approximately 10kg (22 pound) with its payload. Rashid’s length is 50cm while width is 50cm.
DMO noted: “Set to launch in 2024, the Emirates Lunar Mission aims to travel to a part of the moon that has never been reached by a rover. The exact landing site has not yet been revealed, but the objective is to better understand how lunar dust and rocks vary across the moon.
The Emirates Lunar Mission is part of the new 2021-2031 strategy launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had announced on September 29, 2020 that the UAE would launch an Emirati-made rover that would land on the surface of the moon by 2024. The rover was named “Rashid”, after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the builder of modern Dubai and one of the UAE’s Founding Fathers.
Prototype testing in 2023
In a previous Gulf News report, Dr Hamad Al Marzooqi, project manager of Emirates Lunar Mission at MBRSC, said a team of Emirati engineers at MBRSC is working towards completing the design of the Lunar Rover this year. Manufacturing and assembly will be completed in 2022, while preliminary experiments and tests of the prototype will commence in 2023.
Rashid will be equipped with advanced technologies, including a 3D camera, advanced motion system, sensors, a microscope camera and a thermal imaging camera plus state-of-the-art communication system. Once on the surface the moon, it will run on solar panels. Its four cameras will move vertically and horizontally. It will also be equipped with sensors and systems to analyse the properties of soil, dust, radioactivity, electrical activities, and rocks on the surface of the Moon.
Rashid lunar rover specs
Length: 50 cm