The UAE has taken leaps to leverage its position in the space race. If the rover lands successfully, the UAE will be the fourth country to reach the Moon. The Rashid rover, named after the Father of the nation, the late Sheikh Zayed, which took off on December 11, 2022, has sent its first signal back to Earth.
In a recent statement, Japan-based ispace inc (ispace), the agency responsible for the rover’s landing on Moon, said its HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander has traveled approximately 1.24 million km from Earth on January 2, 2023. It is scheduled to be at its farthest point of roughly 1.4 million-km from Earth by January 20.
Reportedly, the Rashid Rover will analyze the plasma on the lunar surface and conduct experiments to understand more about lunar dust.
“When the lander reaches its farthest point from Earth, a third orbital dominion maneuver may be performed, depending on its navigational status. Once it has navigated deep space for one month, Mission Milestone Success 5 will have been achieved,” ispace said in a statement.
The mission is taking a low-energy route to the Moon and is expected to arrive in April this year. Once it reaches the Moon, the rover will spend one lunar day (equivalent to 14.75 days on Earth) on the surface, conducting its primary operations.
The rover, designed to withstand the lunar nights, when temperatures can reach as low as -183°C, or -297.4°F, will spend the next day conducting secondary operations, testing its ability to survive the Moon’s harsh nocturnal environment.