UAE partners with Japanese company iSpace to launch lunar rover in 2022

The UAE has announced a lunar mission that will use an unusually small vehicle, with only four wheels and weighing 10 kilograms (22 pounds).

The rover, to be built in Dubai, is much smaller than the last rover successfully deployed on the Moon; China’s Yutu-2 has six wheels and weighs 140 kilograms (310 pounds).

By comparison, Curiosity, NASA’s only currently active Mars rover, is even larger: it weighs 899 kilograms (1,982 pounds), the size of a small SUV.

The UAE is trying to join an elite club of just three countries, the United States, Russia and China, to successfully land a spacecraft on the lunar surface. In 2019, India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission crashed on the moon. Here you can see your rover on a ramp moving towards the lead vehicle, before launch.

China’s Yutu-2 is the only active lunar rover, but NASA is looking to add one of its own. The Volatile Polar Exploration Research Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam the moon’s south pole in search of water ice.

VIPER, about the size of a golf cart, is being tested at NASA’s Simulated Lunar Operations Laboratory in Ohio.

Star trackers helped put the Hope probe into orbit.

The Hope probe was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan. The UAE has yet to announce partners for the rocket or launch pad for its 2024 unmanned lunar mission.

AlMansoori (left), shown here with mission backup astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, also had to master the incredibly complex systems within the Soyuz capsule. Both astronauts had to learn Russian to operate it.

Architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) have designed a prototype city for humans to live on Mars, then adapted the design for the Emirati desert.

The design is made up of biodomes, each covered with a transparent polyethylene membrane.

The design features skylights filled with water, which on Mars would protect residents from radiation, while allowing light to enter rooms.

BIG’s design for the Earth-bound City of Sciences reserves areas for the investigation of life on Mars, including growing food on the red planet.


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