The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced plans to send a probe to land on an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter to collect data on the origins of the universe.
The project is scheduled to launch in 2028 and land in 2033, during which the spacecraft will travel approximately 3.6 billion kilometers (2.2 billion miles) to study seven main-belt asteroids.
The spacecraft will perform gravity assist maneuvers by first orbiting Venus and then Earth in order to build up the velocity needed to reach the asteroid belt. This sets the craft apart from other outer-space objects, as it requires adequate thermal protection and a high level of insulation.
Since it would be further from the Sun – 448 million kilometers – it would also have to rely on minimal levels of solar energy.
The project comes after Emirates successfully carried out the Amal, or “Hope” probe in orbit around Mars in February. The car-sized Amal cost $200 million to build and launch. This does not include operating costs on Mars.
Emirates is planning to send an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in 2024. The country, which is home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, has also set an ambitious goal of building a human colony on Mars by 2117.
Also the United Arab Emirates, NASA and China’s National Space Science Center are both sending missions to other asteroids.
NASA officially began the final assembly of its Psyche spacecraft in April this year, which will detect an asteroid of the same name that costs 10 quintillion.
It is also set to send a craft to the Trojan asteroids of Jupiter, to investigate the remains of the elemental matter that formed the outer planets, to find out more about the formation of our solar system.
Meanwhile, China is planning to send 23 Long March 5 rockets to the 78-billion-kilogram asteroid Bennu, which weighs 900 tons, with a 1-in-2700 variation of hitting Earth between 2175 and 2199.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /