ANU astrophysicist and cosmologist Dr Brad Tucker says the UAE is planning a “tricky” mission to go to Venus and land on an asteroid.

Dr Tucker said if the UAE is successful, it will be the fourth country to land on an asteroid behind Australia, Japan, and the United States.

“In order to do this they would go into the solar system, do a fly by Venus getting images and data, use the gravity of Venus to slingshot it back out,” he told Sky News Australia.

Dr Tucker said this manoeuvre would give the rocket a lot of speed, which would be boosted by doing an additional slingshot past Earth before heading to the asteroid to take samples.

“This is the big game, landing on these places to take samples and ideally return them back to the Earth,” he said.

“It’s no longer just adequate to go visit or take images, we want to take stuff from there and take it back to the Earth because we can do a lot more study in detail here.”

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