29 September 2017

On Earth as it is on Mars

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) confirmed plans this week to build a city called ‘Mars Scientific City’, a US$135 million (Dh500 million) project that will simulate life on the red planet on Earth.

The announcement was made on the first day of the Annual Government Meetings in Abu Dhabi and also coincided with the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) being held in Adelaide, Australia. Dubai will host the IAC in 2020.

The high-tech city will cover 1.9 million square feet, making it the largest space-simulation city ever built, providing a viable and realistic model to simulate living on the surface of Mars.

The project encompasses laboratories for food, energy and water, as well as agricultural testing and studies about food security in the future.

It will also include a museum displaying humanity’s greatest space achievements, including educational areas to engage young citizens with space and inspire a passion in them for exploration and discovery. The walls of the museum will be 3D printed, using sand from the UAE desert.

"We are seeking a better life and education as well as a stronger economy and the internationally most sophisticated infrastructure for generations to come," said His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The Mars Science City project falls within the UAE’s objectives to lead the global scientific race to take people to Mars and is part of the country’s Mars 2117 Strategy which seeks to build the first settlement on Mars in the next 100 years.

The project seeks to attract the best scientific minds from around the world in a collaborative contribution in the UAE to human development and the improvement of life. It also seeks to address global challenges such as food, water and energy security on Earth.

The plan for the Mars Science City project includes an experiential element, which will involve a team living in the simulated red planet city for one year, involving a range of experiments are to be devised, which will lead to innovation around self-sufficiency in energy, water and food.

The Mars Science City structure will be the most sophisticated building in the world and will incorporate a realistic simulation environment replicating the conditions on the surface of Mars.

The city will consist of several domes, with innovative construction techniques providing support for the structures. A team of Emirati scientists, engineers and designers, led by a team from the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre and Dubai Municipality, will carry out the project, in cooperation with internationally renowned architects.

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