UAE looks to build on Mars mission success with tour of the asteroid belt

Less than a year after nailing its first interplanetary mission with a flawless Mars orbit insertion, the United Arab Emirates has selected its next destination: the asteroid belt.

In October, the UAE announced that it was aiming to launch a new spacecraft in 2028. Like the Hope Mars orbiter, the as-yet-unnamed asteroid mission is designed to meet specific science goals, but it is also being carefully engineered to shape the nation’s future as the UAE looks to diversify its traditionally oil-focused economy. That gives the UAE’s missions a different flavor than what NASA fans are used to seeing.