A model of the Rashid rover, the first Arab mission to the Moon, has been on display at the World Government Summit 2022 (WGS).
Rashid rover is on track to land on the lunar surface in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Experts at the World Government Summit in Dubai shed light on the salient features of the UAE’s Rashid Rover to the visiting delegates.
In an Instagram post, members of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) are seen huddled around the model of the Rashid Rover at the WGS.
The engineering model of the Rashid rover was earlier displayed at the Dubai Air Show and the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) that were held in the emirate last year.
Where will the rover land and why?
The AI-equipped lunar rover named Rashid will be sent to the moon next year with the aid of Japan’s ispace that will provide payload delivery services to the UAE.
The rover’s primary landing site on the Moon is Lacus Somniorum, also known as the Lake of Dreams, an area that is yet to be explored.
Located on the northeastern side of the Moon, Lacus Somniorum is characterised by its unique composition formed by flows of basaltic lava, which give it a reddish hue.
The lunar rover will be generating thousands of images and useful science data throughout the lunar day.
The UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) had forged a collaboration with the French space agency to provide sophisticated cameras enabling high-resolution images for the country’s Lunar Mission.
MBRSC has partnered with the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) which is the French government space agency, to deliver two optical cameras for Space Exploration (CASPEX) for the Rashid rover.
The CASPEX camera on top of the rover’s mast will provide panoramic visibility of the rover’s surroundings.
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The rear-mounted French camera’s images of the drive tracks will be analysed to determine wheel sinkage and investigate the detailed wheel-soil interaction. Such data will be important to design the mobility systems of future rovers.
Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Former Director-General, MBRSC, had earlier opined, “The UAE aims to lead an innovative and sustainable exploration of the moon through the Emirates Lunar Mission. We believe that collaboration is the way forward for space exploration and the more we work together to tackle challenges for the good of humanity, the greater our collective prospects for the future.”
While the temperature on the moon varies dramatically between day and night, one of the biggest challenges that the rover faces is withstanding the harsh environment on the moon, where the temperature can reach minus 200 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, authorities in the UAE have already tested the 10 kg Moon rover in the desert.
A video posted in early March, by the Government of Dubai Media Office showed it navigating the desert sands successfully at different times of the day and night.