Venus Next in UAE’s Sights as Space Mission Extends Beyond Mars
The United Arab Emirates plans to explore Venus within seven years and land on an asteroid, potentially expanding the Middle East’s most ambitious space program beyond Mars.
A dedicated spacecraft will take seven years to build and is expected to travel 3.6 billion kilometers (2.2 billion miles) over five years, UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said on Twitter.
If successful, the country will be the fourth to land a spacecraft on an asteroid. Scheduled for launch in 2028, the spacecraft will perform gravity assist maneuvers by orbiting Venus first and then Earth, to build the velocity required to reach the main asteroid belt beyond Mars.
The latest mission was announced months after the country’s Hope spacecraft entered Martian orbit -- its first excursion into deep space. The UAE established a Space Agency in 2014, sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station five years later, and plans to send an unmanned spaceship to the moon in 2024.
The spacecraft’s trajectory around Venus will see it reaching a solar proximity of 109 million kilometers. It will observe a total of seven main belt asteroids before its final landing on an asteroid 560 million kilometers from Earth in 2033.
The mission will be developed in partnership with the Laboratory for Atmospheric Science and Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
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