In a series of tweets, the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates has expressed his desire to see a UAE-made lander reach the moon. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also ruler of Dubai, says that a lander, dubbed Rashid (after his late father), would launch in 2024. If successful, the UAE will be the fourth nation, after the US, the (former) Soviet Union and China, to reach our nearest neighbor. As PhysOrg notes, several others, including India and Israel, have unsuccessfully attempted to make the same journey.
أطلقنا بحمد الله مشروعاً إمارتياً جديداً لاستكشاف القمر ..سيكون عبارة عن مستكشف قمري إماراتي الصنع سيهبط على سطح القمر في 2024 في مناطق لم تصلها البعثات البشرية السابقة لاستكشافها..أسمينا المستكشف القمري "راشد" تيمناً بباني نهضة دبي..والذي علمنا كيف تكون أحلامنا كبيرة وبعيدة.. pic.twitter.com/slTqmyi1b1— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) September 29, 2020
Al Maktoum said that the project would be used to create new technical capabilities across the UAE and improve scientific research. He added that the project would be entirely built on the “state’s land,” and by “Emirati engineers.” That’s different to the UAE’s previous mission to Mars, which was co-developed with a number of American colleges and built at the University of Colorado. The Sheikh added that any data discovered would be shared with any and all research centers across the globe.