UAE prepares to conquer the Moon with ‘Rashid’ after Hope Probe

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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UAE Moon Mission
UAE has named its lunar rover "Rashid" after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, builder of modern Dubai.

The launch of the Emirates Lunar Mission, the first Emirati and Arab mission to explore the moon, has been announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

The mission to send an unmanned mission to moon in 2024 supports the efforts of the UAE to improve the space industry of the region and contribute to its future designed by innovative Emirati minds. In July this year, UAE had successfully launched ‘Hope Probe’, the first Arab Mars Mission.

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The Emirates Lunar Mission is part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre’s (MBRSC) latest 2021-2031 strategy, which includes the development and launch of the first Emirati lunar rover named “Rashid” after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, builder of modern Dubai.

The explorer will be designed and built by a 100 percent Emirati team of engineers, experts, and researchers in the UAE. If successful, the UAE will become the first Arab country and the fourth country in the world after the United States, the Soviet Union and China to land on the lunar surface. In order to assist the landing of Rashid Lunar Rover on the Moon, MBRSC will collaborate with an international entity.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid
Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai

“By exploring the Moon, we are drafting a new inspiring chapter in the UAE’s growing list of achievements in space and beyond. We chose to name the Lunar Rover ‘Rashid’, after the builder of the modern renaissance of Dubai and one of the founders of the UAE. This project is the largest national and humanitarian project in the region. We have a large-scale space program combined with an unwavering will, strategic governance and an ambitious cadre of scientists, researchers and engineers. The future awaiting us is full of achievements and innovations. What lies ahead is even more promising.”


The purpose of the project is to carry out experiments to research different aspects of the lunar surface, including the structure and components of the lunar soil, the thermal properties of the surface, including thermal amplitude and the characteristics of conduction.

A series of measurements and experiments will be carried out to extend human knowledge of the Moon-plasma, photoelectrons and dust particles located over the lunar surface’s illuminated part. A number of substances on the moon will be examined and their interaction with the Moon will be studied.

The Lunar Rover will capture several images and relay them back to the control room in Dubai during its mission time. The Emirates Lunar Mission will also test new technologies explicitly designed to survive and work in the harsh lunar environment in material science, robotics, mobility, navigation and communications.

The Emirati lunar rover will land on a part of the surface of the Moon that none of the previous lunar exploration missions have explored. It will therefore provide information, images, and insights that are novel and highly valued. The lunar rover will gather scientific data during its task on matters related to the origin of the solar system, earth and life.

Why the Moon?

The Moon is considered to be an ideal platform for testing new technology and equipment which can be used in future space exploration missions including Mars. Before embarking on manned missions to Mars, the Lunar Rover will further examine new exploration techniques on the Moon, which will help test the abilities of the UAE.


A team of engineers, researchers and experts from Emirati at MBRSC are working to complete the Lunar Rover design by 2021. The rover is due to be manufactured in 2022, while the prototype is scheduled to begin preliminary experiments and tests in 2023. By 2024, the Centre plans to launch the Lunar Rover, setting another mark in its increasing list of space sector achievements.

Challenges to overcome 

As Moon has a tougher atmosphere than Mars and the temperature could reach up to minus 173 degrees Celsius, the Lunar Rover is expected to face several obstacles on the surface of the Moon. In addition, the project can face complications from the lunar soil, surface terrain, lunar photoelectrons and other variables.

At the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, the emphasis of the team of researchers and engineers is to build a Lunar Rover capable of bypassing all possible obstacles while conducting its mission. With a success rate of just 45 percent, because of the precision needed for a successful landing, arriving on the Moon is considered one of the most difficult space missions. Owing to the harsh atmosphere of the Moon, other technical problems could also occur.

Strategy 2021-2031

The Emirates Lunar Mission, part of the latest 2021-2031 plan initiated by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, is an ambitious national project. The plan is a framework for the work of the Centre over the next decade. It enhances the international competitiveness of the Centre, establishes new international data collaborations and strengthens the capabilities of the country in the area of space exploration and technologies.

The Emirates Lunar Mission is an ambitious national project that aims to reinvigorate the region’s Arab scientific revival and consolidate the gains achieved by the UAE in the space sector over the past decade, from satellite construction to the launch of the first Arab interplanetary mission, the Hope Probe Emirates Mars Mission.

The project also helps to achieve the UAE’s ambitious vision of being one of the leading centers specializing in the study and development of space sciences, making it a hub for scientists and researchers by providing them with a wealth of free data, information and scientific tools. This will lead to the betterment of humanity in turn.

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