A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has just taken off from the Florida base at Cape Canaveral. If these launches are not exceptional, the weekend launch was closely followed. A few days after the launch of the Artemis 1 mission, it is Japan’s turn to take over the management of our satellite.
But at the very heart of the lander a new kid will also make the trip. Rachid is a rover built by the United Arab Emirates. It is the first time that this small Gulf state will visit the Moon. Like many other rovers and probes before him, Rachid should land on our satellite and explore the surroundings.
In 2023 he will arrive at the Atlas crater, a privileged area of the Moon. He will take pictures of the region and make samples. This crater, very old, could allow to know more about the Moon. The rocks present are older than those studied during the Apollo missions.
A mission from Abu Dhabi to Cape Canaveral via Toulouse
Thanks to a partnership with CNES, (the French equivalent of NASA) the rover has three CASPEX cameras. Developed by the 3DPlus company in Toulouse, these cameras have already equipped prestigious missions such as NASA’s Perseverance rover, currently on the surface of Mars.
Built in 2015 these cameras have technologies CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor). Today it is a manufacturing method that we find in the cameras of high-end smartphones. Thanks to state-of-the-art hardware, the rover should be able “to provide very high resolution images (2000 x 2000 pixels)” specifies the CNES.
France recalls that this is the first time in 50 years that tricolor devices will end up on the Moon. The Rachid rover should use its three cameras to study the ground, the lunar geology but also the movements of the dust on the surface of our satellite.
Such information could allow NASA to adjust the final details for the Artemis 3 mission. It will sign, in 2025, the return of Man to the Moon. 54 years after the first steps of Neil Armstrong.
United Arab Emirates: the new kid on the block has ambition
For the United Arab Emirates, the launch of the Rashid mission is a new show of force for the country’s space program. While the oil state had already made a name for itself in 2020 with the launch of the Hope probe into orbit around Mars, this new mission is that of confirmation.
From the control center of Mohammed bin Rashid, new funding is now expected from Abu Dhabi to carry out a first manned mission in space. With only 10 million inhabitants, the emirate is in the process of making a name for itself among the great powers of the world space.