The UAE's hopes and dreams of a Moon landing lay in its glorious Rashid mini rover — so it's too bad it ended up unceremoniously smashing into the lunar surface.
It's a disappointing outcome to what could've been a historic mission, but scientists at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai don't seem too beat up about it, choosing to look at the bright side of things.
"While the Rashid Rover and other payloads onboard the lander did not get the chance to continue on their respective missions," the organization wrote on Twitter, "the team at MBRSC is still proud of the achievements, including developing a rover and becoming the first Emirati and Arab lunar mission to enter the Moon's orbit."
"After getting this close to the Moon, the MBRSC team is inspired and believes that greater accomplishments are yet to in our pursuit of space exploration," it added.
Among the nations of the world, only three have ever successfully landed on the Moon: the US, Russia, and China. So, the argument seems to go, even an attempt is already a notable achievement. And had it gone smoothly, the mission would have also seen the first privately funded lunar landing — a highly coveted bragging right, given the boom of commercial space exploration. So close, yet so far.
The UAE's Rashid hitched a ride aboard Japan's ispace Hakuto-R Mission 1 spacecraft, which spent over four months in orbit while preparing for its descent. When it finally attempted to land on Tuesday, ispace somberly reported that it had lost contact with the spacecraft, and was presumed crashed. Needless to say, the Rashid didn't make the journey either.
But, keeping in theme with the MBRSC's resilient spirits, the failure here has barely seemed to deter the Emirati government's space ambitions. On Wednesday — barely a day since the doomed landing — Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid announced that the UAE would attempt yet another Moon landing. There's simply no time for mourning.
In spite of the setbacks, "we kept our aspirations high," Sheikh Mohammed said during a visit to the space center, as quoted by Arab News.
"The UAE built a space sector from scratch within just 10 years," he added. "The Rashid rover mission was driven by the country's ambitious vision for space exploration."
It's unclear at this point if the MBRSC will be teaming up with ispace again in the future. After all the Japanese company is probably too busy figuring out what exactly went wrong.
More on the Moon: China Announces Plans to Build Moon Base Using Lunar Soil