UAE to Send Probe on 5-Year Journey to Land On, Study Asteroid

The United Arab Emirates plans to send a probe on a five-year journey to land on and collect data from an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter, the Associated Press reported. The UAE announced the ambitious mission Tuesday, the newest goal in the Middle Eastern country’s space program.

The UAE is planning to launch the probe in 2028 and have it travel 2.2 billion miles before landing on the asteroid in 2033. In order to gain enough speed to reach the asteroid about 350 million miles away, the spacecraft would need to travel around Venus and then Earth, the AP reported.

If the country successfully lands the probe on the asteroid, it would stay there as long as its batteries remain charged, sending information back to Earth on the astronomical object’s composition. An executed landing would also add the UAE to a coveted list of countries and blocs, including the U.S., Japan and European Union, that have successfully landed a probe on an asteroid or comet, the AP reported.

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