Departure for the Moon of the first Arab rover

The first Arab lunar rover, the Emirati rover Rashid, has just been launched to the surface of the Moon, leaving mid-week aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral launch base, Florida . It is a historic take-off which also includes the first Japanese lander, on the initiative of the Hakuto-R M1 mission of the Japanese company ispace, report specialized media.

Arrival on the Moon is scheduled in four months for Hakuto-R. Next April, the Japanese lander will attempt to land inside the Atlas impact crater on the near side of the Moon, a perilous landing that only the United States, Russia (Soviet Union) and China have made. for the moment managed to do so, according to the same source.

If successful, Hakuto-R will land the small Rashid rover built by the United Arab Emirates, which has already had a Hope probe in orbit around the planet Mars since 2021. This first Arab lunar rover will have to study the ground and measure electrical charges on the surface.

Hakuto-R will also drop on the Moon a transformable lunar robot which is a sphere 8 cm in diameter and with a mass of 250 g. It will open to take on a cylindrical shape (one axle and two hemispherical wheels), with cameras for observations of the Moon’s surface.

With the Hakuto-R M1 mission, Takeshi Hakamada, the founder and boss of ispace, aims to lay the foundations to “unleash the potential of the Moon and transform it into a robust and dynamic economic system. In particular, he mentions a contribution to NASA’s Artemis program as a commercial lunar transport service.

Simultaneously with the Hakuto-R M1 mission, the Falcon 9 rocket placed NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Lunar Flashlight mission into lunar transfer orbit. Lunar Flashlight will focus on regions that are constantly in shadow between 12.6 km and 52.4 km altitude. A four-laser (near-infrared) reflectometer will search for surface water ice as it approaches the Moon’s south pole.

Previous Post Next Post