(Bloomberg) — The United Arab Emirates plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2024, part of an effort to invest in technology and diversify its economy away from oil.
The Emirates Lunar Mission would be a first in the Arab world and fourth globally, UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Twitter. The lunar rover will land in areas that haven’t been explored previously by human missions, he said.
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) September 29, 2020
Space technology is a component of the sheikhdom’s plan to reduce its dependence on oil, which has fallen in price this year in part due to a slump in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. In July, the UAE launched a rocket to Mars, and last year it sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station.
The Gulf nation has had three earth-observing satellites since 2009. The first two were in collaboration with South Korea, while the last one, KhalifaSat, was constructed entirely by Emiratis.
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