UAE unveils plans to visit seven asteroids in new interplanetary mission, to be launched in 2028.

The United Arab Emirates has announced plans to explore Venus and land on an asteroid within the next 10 years, following its first mission to Mars.

The UAE’s Hope Probe.
The UAE’s Hope Probe.
  • This 3.6 billion kilometer journey is seven times longer than the UAE's Hope Probe.
  • The probe will land between Mars and Jupiter to collect data on the origin of the universe.
  • About 1.1 million asteroids have been identified orbiting the solar system.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced plans for an asteroid mission that will visit seven asteroids in 2028.

This will be the UAE's second interplanetary mission initiative: the first UAE Mars mission arrived on Mars in February this year and began official science operations on May 23.

According to Space.com, EMM launched an orbiter called "Hope" to the red planet in July 2020.

Our goal is clear: to accelerate the growth of innovative and knowledge-based companies in the UAE, said Sarah Al Amiri, chairman of the UAE Space Agency.

Pursue goals

To do this, we need to pursue our goals with imagination and conviction, and with more than caution and precision.

When we embarked on Emirates' mission to Mars, we were on a six-year mission five times more complex than the Earth observation satellites we were developing. This mission is also five times more complex than EMM, Al Amiri said.

The new, as-yet-unnamed asteroid probe will accelerate past Venus in mid-2028, Earth in mid-2029 and then reach the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter in 2030.

It will then reach the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter in 2030. The spacecraft will study seven different asteroids at close range during its mission and will land on a space rock in 2033.

So far, only a few missions have been able to soft-land on asteroids, including NASA's near-Earth asteroid probes Shoemaker and OSIRIS-REx, and Japan's Hayabusa 1 and Hayabusa 2.

For the mission, the UAE will work with the University of Colorado at Boulder's Institute of Atmospheric and Space Physics, which is also a key partner in the Hope Mars mission.

The scientific objectives of the asteroid mission and the instruments to be carried will be announced next year, according to UAE officials.

The asteroid mission also includes plans to send the Rashid rover to the moon in 2022, they said.

The first interplanetary mission in the Arab world

Omran Sharaf at the announcement of Hope Mars science mission.
Omran Sharaf at the announcement of Hope Mars science mission.

The Hope mission to Mars will investigate the atmosphere of the Red Planet. The Hope Mars mission or Emirates Mars Mission, is a planned space exploration mission to Mars orbit. It was launched on July 19, 2020 at 21:58 UTC.

It was built by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, an Emirati space organization, as well as the University of Colorado Boulder, Arizona State University, and the University of California, Berkeley.

The probe will study daily and seasonal weather cycles, weather events in the lower atmosphere, such as dust storms, and how climate varies in different regions of Mars. It will attempt to answer the scientific questions of why the Martian atmosphere is losing hydrogen and oxygen to space and the reason behind drastic Martian climate changes.

The mission is being carried out by a team of Emirati engineers in collaboration with foreign research institutions, and is a contribution to a knowledge-based economy in the UAE. The probe has been named Hope or Al-Amal (Arabic, الأمل). As planned, it arrived at Mars on February 9, 20214, coinciding with the 50th anniversary year of the formation of the United Arab Emirates.

Hope was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan by a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA rocket on July 19, 2020, after being postponed several times due to weather conditions. It was successfully separated from the rocket one hour after launch.

During its seven-month, 480-million-km journey, Hope made several planned course corrections using its Delta-V booster. As these operations went more smoothly than expected, the spacecraft collected additional data along the way, investigating hydrogen and interplanetary dust near Mars.

On February 9, 2021, Hope performed a 27-minute thruster burn to decelerate sufficiently to enter Mars orbit. During the ignition, the mission personnel on the ground had to wait for their work to pay off.