The five-year journey from 2028 will traverse 3.6 billion kilometres (2.2 billion miles), with the unmanned craft drawing on gravity assists from Earth and Venus to reach the main asteroid belt beyond Mars, officials said.
“The mission will make its first close planetary approach orbiting Venus in mid-2028, followed by a close orbit of Earth in mid-2029,” the UAE Space Agency said in a statement.
“It will make its first fly-by of a main asteroid belt object in 2030, going on to observe a total of seven main belt asteroids before its final landing on an asteroid 560 million kilometres from Earth in 2033.”
The UAE — made up of seven emirates including the capital Abu Dhabi and Dubai — is a newcomer to the world of space exploration.
In September 2019, the oil-rich country sent the first Emirati into space as part of a three-member crew that blasted off on a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan.
Then in February 2021 its “Hope” probe successfully entered Mars’ orbit on a journey to reveal the secrets of Martian weather, in the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.
The UAE also has plans to send an unmanned rover to the moon by 2024.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the UAE’s de facto leader, said that the launch of the new project sets an “ambitious” new goal for the country.
“The UAE is determined to make a meaningful contribution to space exploration, scientific research and our understanding of the solar system,” he tweeted.
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‘Mini Psyches’ give insights into mysterious metal-rich near-earth asteroids
Tucson AZ (SPX) Oct 04, 2021
Metal-rich near-Earth asteroids, or NEAs, are rare, but their presence provides the intriguing possibility that iron, nickel and cobalt could someday be mined for use on Earth or in Space.
New research, published in the Planetary Science Journal, investigated two metal-rich asteroids in our own cosmic backyard to learn more about their origins, compositions and relationships with meteorites found on Earth.
These metal-rich NEAs were thought to be created when the cores of developing planets … read more