UAE Plans Mission to Asteroid Belt to Study Origin of Life: Emirates Mission to Justitia

HALLO LIFESTYLE – The United Arab Emirates plans to send a spacecraft to explore the main asteroid belt of the solar system to find clues about the origin of life on Earth.

The country announced plans for the Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt on Monday, hoping to launch a spacecraft, once built, in 2028 to study seven asteroids.

The 13-year project will take six years of development and seven years of exploration, covering more than 5 billion kilometers (about 3 billion miles) and beyond Mars, according to the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

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The spaceship is named MBR, after its leader.

“The incredible journey will be 10 times the distance traveled by the Hope Probe,” said Al Maktoum, referring to the UAE’s mission to Mars in February 2021.

The spacecraft will travel to an asteroid called Justitia which may provide insight into the origin of life on Earth.

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This could come about through studies of the origin of organic compounds such as water, which have been found in some asteroids. Justitia in particular is believed to have some organic matter on its surface.

“It is one of the two reddest objects in the asteroid belt, and scientists don’t really understand why it is so red,” said Hoor al-Maazmi, space science researcher at the UAE space agency, referring to Justitia.

“There are theories about it coming from the Kuiper Belt and where there is more red stuff there. So that’s one thing we can learn because it has the potential to be rich in water too,” he added.

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The rover will be developed by a private UAE startup and could be the start of the country’s desire to extract resources from asteroids, or even its ambitious goal of establishing a colony on Mars by 2117.

The Gulf Region has been innovating in this sector in recent years.

Last week, two Saudi astronauts traveled to the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time, reported by Al Jazeera.

2023-05-31 10:15:00
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