Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

The United Arab Emirates is launching a new space mission, this time planning to be the first Arab nation to successfully land on an asteroid, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced via Twitter.
Tentatively planned to launch in 2028 with a seven-year evolution time for the spacecraft, the mission will see the UAE explore the planet Venus as well as seven asteroids that culminated in a planned landing on an asteroid even in 2033 after a five-year journey, the Associated Press reported.
The announcement comes just a year after the successful Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), which was the culmination of six years of work and saw the Hope Probe arrive at the Mars orbit in February 2021. But according to UAE Space Agency President Sara al-Amiri, this next mission is far more complicated.
“When we embarked on the Emirates Mars Mission, we undertook a six-year mission that was on the order of five times more complex than the Earth observation satellites we developed. This mission is on the order of five times more complex than the EMM,” she said in a statement according to Khaleej Times.

Infographic showing the planned Emirates Mars Mission trip.  (Credit: UAE SPACE AGENCY)Infographic showing the planned Emirates Mars Mission trip. (Credit: UAE SPACE AGENCY)

This new spacecraft will travel seven times the distance from the Hope Probe, with a journey of about 3.6 billion kilometers (3.6 billion kilometers), and due to it to come within 67 million miles (109 kilometers) of the Sun, it will require it to specialize in thermal shielding, CNN reported.

The planned asteroid mission was hailed by UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahayan.

“The launch of a new project to explore Venus and the asteroid belt sets an ambitious new goal for our country’s budding space program,” the Crown Prince tweeted.

“The UAE is determined to make a meaningful contribution to space research, scientific research and our understanding of the solar system.”

The mission’s potential to explore Venus was noted by some experts for having the potential to gain further understanding of one of Earth’s closest neighbors, a planet so large in size that NASA has noted its nickname as “Earth’s twin”, but if overall climate and atmosphere are radically different.

The planet is mysterious, with NASA noting it as characterized by “a thick, toxic atmosphere filled with carbon dioxide, and it is always shrouded in thick, yellowish clouds of sulfuric acid that trap heat and cause an ongoing greenhouse effect.” The air pressure on the planet is intense and is 90 times greater than what you can experience on the Earth’s surface – in fact, it is more comparable to the pressure found one kilometer below the sea. It is also the hottest planet in the solar system, with surface temperatures estimated by NASA to be around 475 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit), which can even melt lead.

Planet Venus (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)Planet Venus (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Space organizations have previously sent probes to the planet, and it was first scanned by a NASA probe in 1962 and later explored by others. Some of these continued recently, such as NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which has made several flybys of Venus in recent years. But landing missions are a different story. Both the United States and the Soviet Union previously attempted to land probes on the planet, but they never lasted long, with a NASA probe landing in 1978 that lasted only an hour under intense conditions.

Despite this, many scientists see significant value on the planet, and some even claim that microscopic life may exist in the atmosphere, although this is highly controversial.

“I am sure this will be useful in the overall context of Venus science. It is likely to be one of several missions to Venus in the next decade, ”said Ian Crawford, professor of planetary science and astrobiology at the University of London. national reported.

In fact, both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have several planned Venus missions in the coming decade.

But landing on asteroids is a far more exciting prospect for some. Three nations have previously landed on asteroids, and many see them as possible sources of future mining, as these asteroids may be rich in raw materials.

Scientists continue to intensively study these objects, with NASA’s upcoming Lucy mission due to be launched on October 16, equipped with equipment to study more asteroids in the coming years.

However, this is not the end of the UAE’s space ambitions, but the UAE plans to become the first Arab nation – and fourth nation worldwide – to successfully land a rover on the moon by the end of 2022, Khaleej Times reported.

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