Emirates and Japan just left Earth to reach the moon together | Database

The flag of the Union of the United Arab Emirates is once again flying in space. But this time he is going to the Moon and not the orbit of Mars, where the Gulf country has been since February 9, 2021.

With the support of Japanese technology, Emirates now wants to reach the Moon and move a small four-wheeled vehicle weighing only 10 kilograms on its surface. He was baptized Rashidin honor of Sheikh Rashid Al Zayed, the country’s founder, who had the opportunity to meet the American astronauts who participated in the Apollo-Soyuz mission in July 1975.

PHOTO/DLR – Japanese private company Ispace is headed by Japanese entrepreneur Takeshi Hakamada, fifth from left. Hakuto-R is the first private commercial mission to visit our natural satellite

Rashid is the second phase of Emirates’ ambitious robotic space exploration programme, the first phase of which – also with the help of Japan – consists of placing a 1,350 kilogram space probe around the red planet to study its atmosphere and the keys to its seasonal changes.

After two aborted takeoffs on December 1 and 2, the small rover, which had just been launched, has been on its way to the Moon since early Sunday morning, December 11, Spanish time. But he did not fly from Japan’s Tanegashima space base aboard a Japanese H-II launch vehicle.as was the case with the ship Al Amal.

This time he flew from Cape Kennedy (Florida)where a Falcon 9 rocket from Elon Musk’s SpaceX company – the recent major shareholder of the social network Twitter – launched it on its way to the Earth’s natural satellite.

PHOTO/MBRSC – The team involved in the Rashid rover, which will explore areas no other robotic mission has approached. It must survive extreme temperature conditions for at least 14 days on Earth.

A major player in space

The recently launched Rashid lunar mission and the long-running Al Amal Mars mission are very different from each other in many ways. But the two are united under a common denominator: the United Arab Emirates is the first Arab country to reach the orbit of Mars and also wants a prominent place on the Moon.

If the mission is successful, Japan and the United Arab Emirates will occupy the fourth and fifth places in the list of countries that have successfully reached the Moon and landed a rover there, a feat that only the United States, Russia and China have achieved.

Emirati President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is ready to inject the necessary money and resources. He wants to make his country a major international player in space, a force to be reckoned with in future robotic and manned exploration programs of the solar system, in particular NASA’s Artemis project that aims to return humans to month.

PHOTO/ESA – The European Space Agency’s Deep Space Network will follow Hakuto-R as it travels more than 1.5 million kilometers from Earth before descending to the lunar surface in April.

Rashid is the Gulf State’s first moon mission. It aims to explore areas of the moon “where no robotic mission has gone before,” said the director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, Salem Al Marri, the institution that oversees the national space program. Due to its small size – about half a meter long – the mini-rover must travel and survive for at least 14 days on Earth, and withstand temperatures of about -183 degrees Celsius (-183 degrees Fahrenheit).

The small rover must study the characteristics of the lunar soil, its orography and its geology. It is equipped with four cameras, two of which are high resolution to guide the technicians operating the rover from the ground. The third part is used to get close-ups of shredded moon dust. A fourth camera will study the thermal properties of the surface and a Langmuir probe will measure the temperature of the electrons, their density and the electrical potential of the plasma. But that was not the end of Moon’s interest. In the middle of the decade, the Rashid 2 mission will be launched aboard the Chinese Chang’e-7 mission.

PHOTO/Ang Pambansa – Space Center Director General Mohammed bin Rashid Salem Al Marri poses in front of a map of the Moon, showing the area chosen for the Hakuto-R descent (right, top) and other countries have done the same.

3 to 5 month trip to the Moon

The Emirati lunar mission is part of the Japanese Hakuto-R mission conducted by the Japanese private company Ispace, owned by Japanese entrepreneur Takeshi Hakamada. Hakuto-R – the white rabbit in Japanese mythology – is a descent module more than 2 meters high, capable of holding about 350 kilograms of various cargo.

Hakuto-R launched its trajectory toward the Moon more than 1.5 million meters from Earth, to describe a long route with low energy consumption instead of a direct approach, which is more expensive in terms of fuel consumption. This means that Selene’s strategy trajectory will take more than four months.

PHOTO/Ispace – The Hakuto-R descent module – the white rabbit from Japanese mythology – is over 2 meters tall and can carry around 350 kilograms of various cargo.

At the end of its peregrinations in space, the Japanese module will position itself around the natural satellite and describe orbits closer to its surface. Finally, it will deploy its four articulated legs and make its descent, which will take place at the end of April, at a date not yet specified by Ispace. If the decline is a victory, it is a victory for Japan and its entrepreneurs.

The chosen landing site is near the Atlas crater, an unexplored area located on the outer edge of the “Mare Frigoris”, or Sea of ​​​​​​Cold. The area is illuminated many hours by the sun, which hits the solar panels and recharges the batteries. It is also a place with good visibility on Earth, which facilitates the transmission of data and images to “share with interested local and international research centers”, explained Salem Al Marri.

PHOTO/NASA-JPL-Caltech – JPL’s tiny Lunar Flashlight satellite is expected to detect water ice deposits inside craters near the lunar south pole, which is always in twilight.

The Hakuto-R module has two more important passengers on board. The first is a small two-wheeled rover, the size of a baseball, developed by the Japanese space agency (JAXA). The other is a very small satellite, also about the size of a briefcase, developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and called the Lunar Flashlight.

The purpose of the Lunar Flashlight is to detect the presence of water ice deposits within the craters of the Moon near the South Pole and in the permanent penumbra.. Several near-infrared laser cameras and spectrometers will map the ice layers that exist in these dark regions. If water ice is discovered, astronauts on future missions of NASA’s Artemis program will have an important resource for their survival and to facilitate their work.

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