The Rashid Rover, the Arab region’s first mission to the Moon, has traveled 1.34 million kilometers and completed one month in space.
The rover was built in the UAE by a fully Emirati team at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), which announced the latest milestone on Friday.
The rover was sent to space from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on December 11 in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
The mission team has reportedly completed all health assessments and maintenance checks to ensure the optimal functioning of its onboard subsystems and instruments.
The team on Earth is now communicating with it once every week, the Emirates News Agency WAM reported.
.@MBRSpaceCentre: The Rashid Rover has successfully completed one month in space, travelling close to 1.34 million km. Since the launch, the Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM) team has completed 220 minutes of communication with the world’s most compact rover.https://t.co/Wf8hhUSjRU pic.twitter.com/AzB6ELLDQh— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) January 13, 2023
Currently, the team is preparing for the entry, descent, and landing phase prior to the start of surface operations. It is expected to land towards the end of April this year to an unexplored part of the Moon.
Before the landing, the team will reportedly prepare by participating in 12 simulated rehearsals at the ground stations.
On the Moon’s surface, the rover will conduct scientific tests that is expected to contribute to qualitative developments in the fields of science, communication technologies, and robotics.
The primary goal of the mission is to study the Moon’s plasma and to provide answers about Moon dust, the lunar surface, mobility on the Moon’s surface, and how different surfaces interact with lunar particles.
The 10-kilogram explorer will also send back images and collect data on lunar soil and dust once it reaches the lunar surface.