Mars: The eighth emirate of the UAE?
Space is the next challenge in the UAE, and perhaps the entire GCC, as Saudi and Kuwait have expressed interest in more than just star gazing, but going to where no man has been before.
* Mars 2117 Project aims to establish first inhabitable human settlement
* UAE is among top 9 countries that invest in space sciences
* First phase of project will focus on preparing human resources to achieve scientific breakthroughs
Life on Mars has long been a dream for humans. For the UAE in particular, urban life on the Red Planet is now a vision.
The Arab country has launched “Mars 2117 Project”, aiming to establish the first inhabitable human settlement on the red planet, over the next 100 years.
Leading international efforts
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, unveiled the ambitious and historic project on Tuesday on the sidelines of World Government Summit held in Dubai.
While launching the project, Sheikh Mohammed said that “exploring the space is an old human dream” and his country’s objective was to “spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality.”
“The new project is a seed that we plant today, and we expect future generations to reap the benefits, driven by its passion to learn to unveil a new knowledge,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
He also said that the UAE is among the top nine countries in the world that invest in the space sciences, adding that it aims to accelerate the research in this domain.
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Meanwhile, Sheikh Al Nahyan said the short-term objective of the project is to develop skills and the capacities of Emiratis.
“The Mars 2117 Project is a long term project, where our first objective is to develop our educational system so our sons will be able to lead scientific research across the various sectors,” he said.
“The UAE became part of a global scientific drive to explore the space, and we hope to serve humanity through this project,” the Crown Prince said in a statement sent out to the media.
The first phase of the project will focus on preparing the human resources to achieve the scientific breakthrough required for the mission. It will start with a team of Emirati scientists and at a later phase an international scientific consortium will be formed to speed up the research project.
The project will also focus on developing faster means of transportation from and to the Red Planet, and come up with an integrated scientific visualisation of how the settlement will look like, and how life will be there in term of food, transportation and energy among many others, the statement said.
In 2015, the UAE announced its Mars Probe mission, the Arab world’s first spacecraft that will land on Mars in 2021 to explore the planet.