The UAE is set to begin work on a Dhs500 million project, which aims to build a city that simulates the conditions of life on Mars.
In a country known for ground-breaking projects, this must surely be one of the most ambitious announcements to date.
Mars Science City was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and will cover 1.9 million sq ft.
The ambitious scale of the project makes it the largest space simulation city ever built, and is intended to provide a realistic model to simulate living on the surface of Mars.
Mars Science City falls within the nation’s objectives to lead the global scientific race to take people to Mars, and is part of the Mars 2117 Strategy, which was launched earlier this year by HH Sheikh Mohammed, seeking to build the first settlement on Mars within the next 100 years. The project will build laboratories for food, energy and water, as well as agricultural testing and studies about food security.
A museum will also be constructed using 3D printing technology and sand from the Emirati desert within the science city. It will display humanities greatest space achievements to date, plus educational areas designed to engage and inspire young citizens.
"The UAE seeks to establish international efforts to develop technologies that benefit humankind, and that establish the foundation of a better future for more generations to come,” said HH Sheikh Mohammed. “We also want to consolidate the passion for leadership in science in the UAE, contributing to improving life on earth and to developing innovative solutions to many of our global challenges.
“We believe in the potential of space exploration, and in collaborating with global partners and leaders in order to harness the findings of this research and movement that seeks to meet people’s needs and improve quality of life on earth."
"The new project is another step in the UAE’s leading contributions to the global science movement; we seek to set an example and motivation for others to participate, and contribute, to humanity’s march into space," he concluded.
Future plans for the city, which will consist of several domes aimed at replicating the conditions on the surface of Mars, include a year-long project involving a team living in the red planet city.
The hope is that the city, and its projects, provide an important reference model for future innovation around sustaining live in a hostile planetary environment.
And we can’t wait to see it.