DUBAI, UAE – Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum said Tuesday his country plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2024, according to sources.
Sheikh Mohammed’s announcement, who is also the ruler of Dubai, comes after the launch of a Mars probe earlier this year by the UAE, an oil-rich nation on the Arabian Peninsula.
“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,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote on Twitter.
He did not elaborate on the location the UAE planned to explore.
Sheikh Mohammed said the rover would be named “Rashid,” the same name of his late father, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, as AP reported.
If such a vision in 2024 turns successful, the UAE could become fourth nation on the Earth to land a spacecraft on the moon, after the United States, the Soviet Union and China.
India has tried and failed to land a spacecraft, as has Israel and Japan, according to AP.