Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Wednesday received members of the Emirates Lunar Mission team.
Tweeting on the occasion, Sheikh Mohamed said: “I was pleased to meet with members of the Emirates Lunar Mission team”.
“This historic project is further expanding the UAE’s contribution to the space sector and enabling our people to harness their knowledge and skills to serve their country and humanity,” Sheikh Mohamed said.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, also received the team, saying that the mission is setting the stage for a new scientific era in the history of the UAE.
On his twitter page, Sheikh Mohammed said: “I received the Emirates Lunar Mission team. The Emirati lunar rover “Rashid” will land on the moon in the next few months carrying with it our pride in the nation’s young people and scientists. The mission will push the UAE’s aspirations to the next level and set the stage for a new scientific era in the history of the country”.
Mohammed bin Rashid also signed one part of the “Rashid Rover”, which was developed and assembled Emirati engineers and researchers at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center
Launched in 2020 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Emirates Lunar Mission is the first Emirati and Arab mission to explore the moon.
The Mission is part of the new 2021-2031 strategy launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, MBRSC, which includes the development and launch of the first Emirati lunar rover named “Rashid”, after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, builder of modern Dubai.
The mission aims to conduct tests to study various aspects of the lunar surface, including the lunar soil and its formation and components, thermal properties of the surface including thermal amplitude and conduction characteristics. It will carry out a series of measurements and tests that will expand human understanding of the Moon-plasma, photoelectrons and dust particles located over the illuminated part of the lunar surface. A range of materials will also be tested and their interaction with the Moon will be studied.
During its mission period, the Lunar Rover will capture multiple images and relay it back to the control room in Dubai. The Emirates Lunar Mission will also test new technologies in material science, robotics, mobility, navigation, and communications, specially designed to survive and function in the harsh lunar environment.
The Emirati lunar rover will land on an area of the Moon’s surface that has not been explored by any of the previous lunar exploration missions. Therefore, it will provide novel and highly valued data, images, and insights. During its mission, the lunar rover will collect scientific data on matters relating the origin of the solar system, our planet and life.
The Moon is considered an ideal platform to test new technologies and equipment that can be used in future space exploration missions, including Mars. Landing on the Moon also allows for long-term exposure of sensors and other technologies to the space environment. The Lunar Rover will further test new exploration techniques on the Moon, which will help test the UAE’s capabilities before embarking on manned missions to Mars.
The Lunar Rover will be equipped with state-of-the-art technologies including a 3D camera, advanced motion system, sensors, communication system and be powered using solar panels.
It will include four cameras that move vertically and horizontally, including two main cameras, a microscope camera, and a thermal imaging camera. Additionally, it will be equipped with sensors and systems to analyse the properties of soil, dust, radioactivity, electrical activities, and rocks on the surface of the Moon. The explorer will also include an advanced motion system to enhance the efficiency of the Lunar Rover’s wheels’ movement on the Moon and facilitate the process to overcome natural barriers, along with a robust structure to protect devices and machinery from changing temperatures.
A team of Emirati engineers, researchers and experts at MBRSC is working towards completing the design of the Lunar Rover, which is set to be manufactured in 2022, while preliminary experiments and tests of the prototype are expected to start in 2023. The Centre aims to launch the Lunar Rover by 2024, setting another record in its growing list of achievements in the space sector.
UAE-made Rashid Rover
The UAE-made Rashid Rover is ‘smallest and lightest’ rover to be deployed on moon’s surface. It can climb over an obstacle up to 10cm tall and descend a 20-degree slope. Its mission is to better understand how lunar dust and rocks vary across the moon.
Rashid Rover will capture multiple images and send those back to the control room in Dubai. The Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM) team will then test new technologies in material science, robotics, mobility, navigation and communications, which are specially designed to survive and function in the harsh lunar environment.
The Emirati moon rover will be delivered to the lunar surface by Japanese lander Hakuto-R, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will lift off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA. The journey from Earth to the lunar surface will take around three months.