UAE, CU Boulder to Team on Mission to Explore Venus and Asteroids

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA’s JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet’s extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Fresh off the success of the Hope Mars orbiter, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric Science and Physics (LASP) will team again on an ambitious mission to explore Venus and seven asteroids.

“The UAE launched today a new space mission to explore Venus and 7 other asteroids in the solar system. We will also out the first Arab landing on an asteroid at the end of the 3.6 billion km journey (7 times the Hope Probe trip to Mars),” tweeted Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s vice-president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai.

The spacecraft will be launched on a five-year mission in early 2028. It will perform gravity assist maneuvers at Venus and Earth to pick up the speed to reach the asteroid belt that is located beyond the orbit of Mars.

UAE and LASP teamed up on the successful Emirates Mars Mission, which launched the Hope orbiter to Mars in July 2020. Billed as the first Arab mission to the Red Planet, the spacecraft was actually built in Colorado with the help of a team of Emirati engineers, software developers and scientists. The Arizona State University and the University of California Berkeley also contributed to the Hope mission.

“Our space journey is still at early stages and our missions will not stop. We have projects to develop space scientists, astronauts, and spacecraft. A third of the stars in the sky had Arab names because Arabs were pioneers in astronomy. Our mission will resume our Arab civilization and if we don’t act today, when will we do?” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.