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UAE spacecraft to explore major asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter

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The United Arab Emirates is a newcomer to the world of space exploration. (Representative)

Dubai:

The United Arab Emirates will launch a spacecraft to explore a major asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, officials said on Tuesday, after the UAE probe reached the Red Planet earlier this year.

The five-year journey from 2028 will span 3.6 billion kilometers (2.2 billion miles), with the unmanned craft helping it reach the main asteroid belt beyond Mars from Earth and Venus, officials said.

“The mission will make its first close-planet approach to orbit Venus in mid-2028, followed by a close-to-Earth orbit in mid-2029,” the UAE space agency said in a statement.

“It will perform its first fly-by of a main asteroid belt object in 2030, observing a total of seven main belt asteroids before the final landing on an asteroid 560 million kilometers from Earth in 2033.”

The UAE – made up of seven emirates including Abu Dhabi and Dubai – is a newcomer to the world of space exploration.

In September 2019, the oil-rich country sent the first Emirati into space as part of a three-member crew, which exploded on a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan.

Then in February 2021 its “Hope” probe successfully entered Mars orbit on a journey to uncover the mysteries of Mars’ weather in the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.

The UAE also plans to send an unmanned rover to the moon by 2024.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, the de facto leader of the UAE, said the launch of the new project sets an “ambitious” new goal for the country.

“UAE is committed to making meaningful contributions to space exploration, scientific research and our understanding of the Solar System,” he tweeted.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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