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The United Arab Emirates wants to land a probe on an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter

The United Arab Emirates wants to land a probe on an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is getting more and more active in space. In a few years, the country wants to carry out a mission to the asteroid belt, in which a rover will land on the space rock Justitia.

In the news: The United Arab Emirates revealed more details about Emirates mission to the asteroid belt (EMA).

  • The mission, which was first announced in 2021, will see the UAE visit seven different asteroids using an unmanned probe. Not many details were revealed at the time, except that the mission should launch in 2028 and that the probe will land on one of the asteroids (Justitia).
  • More information was released on Sunday, nearly two years later. In addition to the name of the mission, the name of the spacecraft was also announced. The probe, MBR Explorer, will be named after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Emir of Dubai and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates.
  • The MBR explorer will hit its first asteroid on the way in 2030. After that, it will fly over five more space rocks before landing on Justitia in 2034 with a small rover aboard.
  • The asteroid is of interest to scientists because it may contain organic molecules. This does not mean that there is life out there. Organic molecules are the building blocks of the more complex materials that could eventually make up life. Studying them could give humanity more insights into how life originated on Earth.
  • What is also interesting about Justitia is that the asteroid may be much closer to Earth than it is currently. Later, the space rock’s orbit changed and it would have ended up between Mars and Jupiter.
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Also noted: Before arriving at Justitia, MRB Explorer will fly past six more space rocks.

  • These are the asteroids Westerwald, Chimaera, Rockox, 2000 VA28, 1998 RC76 and 1999 SG6. According to the UAE Space Agency, they were chosen because they all have a different makeup, which allows collecting as much new information as possible.
  • Most of the space rocks on the list are only 10 kilometers or less in diameter. Only Justitia and Chimaera have a diameter of about 50 kilometers, which makes them about 100 times smaller than the Moon.
  • The objects will be studied with four scientific instruments: a high-resolution camera, an infrared thermal camera and two spectrometers.

(Acronym II.)