The United Arab Emirates announced plans to send a spaceship to the solar system’s main asteroid belt, adding that they hoped to have the ship ready to launch by 2028.
The spaceship will be named MBR, after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
“This mission is a follow up and a follow on the Mars mission, where it was the first mission to Mars from the region told Al-Arabia.” Mohsen al-Awadhi, program director of the Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt. “We’re creating the same thing with this mission. That is, the first mission ever to explore these seven asteroids in specific and the first of its kind when it’s looked at from the grand tour aspect.”
The mission would extend 10 times past that of the Mars mission, with a total estimated travel distance of 5 billion Kilometers.
The architects of the mission are aiming to design a spacecraft able to travel at 33,000 kilometres per hour, according to Al-Arabiya. The mission will likely take seven years to explore six asteroids.
The goals of the space mission
The scientists hope that the mission will give more insight into the development of life, as the craft is planned to land on a rare asteroid named Justitia in 2034, which contains organic compounds. Water has been found on similar asteroids.
“It’s one of the two reddest objects in the asteroid belt, and scientists don’t really understand why it’s so red,” said Hoor Al-Maazmi, a space science researcher at the UAE space agency to Al-Arabiya. “There are theories about it being originally from the Kuiper Belt and where there’s much more red objects there. So that’s one thing that we can study because it has the potential for it to be water rich as well.”
“The Emirates Asteroid Belt Exploration Mission is the first mission of its kind to explore asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter and to land on an asteroid. The spacecraft's design, full mission phases, science goals, and pivotal role in advancing our understanding of our solar system are revealed,” the UAE Space Agency tweeted.
تعد مهمة الإمارات لاستكشاف حزام الكويكبات، أول مهمة من نوعها لاستكشاف كويكبات الحزام الرئيسي بين كوكب المريخ والمشتري والهبوط على كويكب. تم الكشف عن تصميم المركبة الفضائية، والمراحل الكاملة للمهمة، وأهدافها العلمية، ودورها المحوري في تعزيز فهمنا لنظامنا الشمسي. pic.twitter.com/4yUBPywx5K— وكالة الإمارات للفضاء (@uaespaceagency) May 29, 2023
UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted “Praise be to God, we launched at Qasr Al Watan the scientific details of one of our most important projects in the field of space, "The Emirates Project to Explore the Asteroid Belt". The project will last 13 years.. 6 years for development and 7 years for an exploration journey.. during which the UAE spacecraft MBR Explorer will travel 5 billion kilometers bypassing Mars to explore 7 asteroids and land on the last asteroid in 2034.. "
"The UAE project to explore the asteroid belt is a huge national scientific project.. and a unique global research and knowledge project.. It will include the establishment of private Emirati companies in space technology, the establishment of a ground control center for deep space missions, and the training of new Emirati cadres in this sector.. The vehicle will travel 10 times more than the Hope Probe. "
"The Emirates can fly far in space for five billion kilometers for one reason: it is its belief in its youth and its empowerment of its children.. and whoever does not believe in the capabilities of our ambitious Emirati youth in all sectors needs to review himself and review his love and loyalty to his country..”"
بحمدالله أطلقنا في قصر الوطن التفاصيل العلمية لأحد أهم مشاريعنا في مجال الفضاء "مشروع الإمارات لاستكشاف حزام الكويكبات " . المشروع يستمر 13 عاماً.. 6 سنوات للتطوير و7 سنوات رحلة استكشاف.. ستقطع خلالها المركبة الاماراتية MBR Explorer ٥ مليار كيلومتر متجاوزة كوكب المريخ لاستشكاف… pic.twitter.com/C0peR7JAMe— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) May 29, 2023