UAE News

How UAE’s Emirates Lunar Mission is preparing full steam to send Rashid to the moon

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Dr Hamad Al Marzooqi, mission supervisor of Emirates Lunar Mission and Dr Sara Ahmed Al Meeni, mission scientist & RF lead, engaged on the mission Picture Credit score: Virendra Saklani/Gulf Information

Dubai: Members of the Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM) — or the women and men behind the Rashid rover — are in a race in opposition to time. The Arab world’s first mission to the moon was introduced in September final 12 months with an preliminary launch date of 2024, but it surely was moved two years forward of schedule.

In an unique interview with Gulf Information, Dr Hamad Al Marzooqi, ELM mission supervisor on the Mohammed bin Rashid Area Centre (MBRSC), mentioned they’re on schedule regardless of the brand new date. “The team has been busy and will be busier in the coming months,” famous Al Marzooqi whereas displaying a prototype of ‘Rashid’, an Emirati-made lunar rover named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

The prototype might be examined between June and July at a facility exterior the UAE. It would bear inflexible qualification testing, together with a simulated launch on lunar floor environments. As soon as the testing of the prototype satisfies the workforce, the event of the Rashid rover will start. “I can’t remember a time when the team was not busy and I don’t think there will be a time we can relax,” mentioned Al Marzooqi in the course of the interview held on the ELM workplace in Dubai Silicon Oasis throughout Ramadan.

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As grounds techniques and operations lead, Dr Mohamed Ali Al Zaabi is a part of the workforce that’s readying the mission for 2022 Picture Credit score: Virendra Saklani/Gulf Information

Mission prepared for 2022

The mission was introduced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in September final 12 months and the unique objective was to land on the moon by 2024.

Al Marzooqi mentioned: “After announcing our collaboration with ispace (the Japanese private lunar robotic exploration company that will transport Rashid to the moon) this month, and moving the launch period two years earlier, there has been a lot of pressure on the team, but I believe the team is highly capable. We have already done a lot of work, but there is still a lot of work to be done and the team is ready for the mission for 2022.”

Made within the UAE

Rashid is the smallest and lightest rover to be deployed on the floor of the moon. To be constructed at a top of 70cm (2.3ft), its weight is roughly 10kg with payload. Its size is 50cm and width is 50cm. It’s being designed and constructed within the UAE by a workforce of Emirati engineers, specialists and researchers.

A touchdown website on the moon is predicted to be introduced quickly. Rashid — on board ispace’s robotic lunar lander referred to as Hakuto-R (Hakuto-Reboot) — will land on the close to facet of the moon, which gives a smoother floor with much less craters. If profitable, the UAE and Japan will collectively turn out to be the fourth entity to land on the lunar floor, after america, former Soviet Union and China.

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The prototype might be examined between June and July at a facility exterior the UAE Picture Credit score: Virendra Saklani/Gulf Information

Mission: Unexplored space on the moon

Al Marzooqi mentioned Rashid has a “unique mission to explore a new area on the moon that has not been explored before. It will generate a huge amount of very useful scientific data to understand the geography and physical properties of the lunar surface”.

The rover will seize a number of photographs and ship these again to the management room in Dubai. The ELM workforce may even take a look at new applied sciences in materials science, robotics, mobility, navigation and communications, specifically designed to outlive and performance within the harsh lunar setting.

“The moon is an excellent platform to test new technologies and to do useful scientific research. It is our closest neighbour, compared to other celestial bodies, including Mars. To develop a mission to moon is more convenient than developing a mission to Mars and other celestial bodies,” commented Al Marzooqi.

From moon to Mars

Al Marzooqi additionally famous there’s a international effort to discover the moon as a gateway to Mars. “Space technology requires long time to develop. It is easier and more cost effective to test those technologies on the surface of the moon before making sure they are ready to be used for mission to Mars and other planets,” he added.

ELM is a part of MBRSC’s Mars 2117 Programme geared toward constructing the information and scientific capabilities that can allow the UAE to construct Mars Science Metropolis and discover Mars to deal with the challenges of meals, water and power safety on Earth.

In keeping with MBRSC, Mars Science Metropolis may have laboratories that can stimulate the Pink Planet’s terrain and harsh setting for meals, power and water, agricultural testing and research. It would additionally allow the UAE to develop life help techniques that may make it potential to reside on different planets.

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Dr Sara Ahmed Al Meeni is the RF lead of the mission Picture Credit score: Virendra Saklani/Gulf Information

Adnan Al Rais, Mars 2117 Programme Director, earlier defined: “For a road map to accomplish future human missions, we need to go first to the moon to develop a lunar gateway and develop robotics missions to enhance technologies and create new discoveries that will help us in the future to achieve our ultimate goal, which is basically to send humans to Mars and building a settlement there.”

Human settlement on the moon

Al Marzooqi informed Gulf Information that efforts are being made by totally different worldwide house companies to develop the lunar gateway. “It will be like an international space station orbiting the moon that will be used to ferry scientific experiments and conduct activities to land on the surface of the moon or used to go to other celestial bodies,” he added.

“Alongside the lunar gateway, there are also efforts to build base stations for human settlement on the moon that can be used to support longer human missions. The moon will also be used as a base camp where we fuel and continue the journey to farther celestial bodies in our solar system,” Al Marzooqi continued.

He added the latest discovery of the presence of water on the sunlit floor of the moon has boosted the concept of supporting the presence of people on the moon to conduct longer researches and reply intriguing questions on assets related for deep house exploration.

Emirati on the moon?

When requested if the UAE will ship the primary Emirati to the moon, Al Marzooqi replied: “This is something I cannot yet say for certain for now. But we do not know, maybe in the future. We take things in stride. When the UAE government announced its ambitious human settlement programme on Mars, we started by developing our own technological capabilities. Building human settlement on an outer planet requires robotic technology. That is what we are doing right now — taking things step by step. We first develop our capabilities before having a manned mission to moon and Mars,” he added.

Private journey

Al Marzooqi joined MBRSC in 2015 as a senior knowledgeable. He beforehand labored on the KhalifaSat and began a analysis and improvement part underneath the house engineering division, earlier than becoming a member of the ELM, the place he’s the mission supervisor and lead for the pc and imaging techniques of the rover.

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Dr Hamad Al Marzooqi joined MBRSC in 2015. He beforehand labored on the KhalifaSat and began a analysis and improvement part. Picture Credit score: Virendra Saklani/Gulf Information

Al Marzooqi has a bachelor’s diploma in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the College of Sharjah and a grasp’s diploma in Safety, Cryptology and Coding of Info System from the Universites De Grenoble (INPG/UJF), Grenoble, France. He acquired his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Khalifa College, with a thesis centered on safe and environment friendly {hardware} implementations of cryptographic algorithms. He received the very best m-government award on the Authorities Summit 2014 and the sensible safety contest in 2015. Moreover, he was awarded the Younger Emirati Analysis Prize in 2012 and 2015.

He informed Gulf Information: “Being part of the ELM team and working on this mission comes with a very big responsibility. I am very proud of the team. We have all the experiences we’ve gained from previous space missions, including the Hope Probe, Khalifasat, DubaiSat. We are confident to reach the moon and I am very honoured to be part of this team.”

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