United Arab Emirates to launch firs Arab mission to moon in 2024

The United Arab Emirates plans to send an unmanned mission to the moon in 2024, a top Emirati official said Tuesday, a new gamble in space by the oil-rich nation that could see it become only the fourth country to accomplish that goal.

The announcement by Dubai’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who also serves as the vice president and prime minister of the hereditarily ruled UAE, shows the rapid expansion of the space program that bears his name.

Already, an Emirati space probe launched two months ago is hurtling through space on its way to Mars. Last year, the UAE sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station.

“It will be an Emirati-made lunar rover that will land on the surface of the moon in 2024 in areas that have not been explored previously by human missions,” Sheik Mohammed wrote on Twitter.

He did not elaborate on the location that the UAE planned to explore, or how it would launch the rover into space.