Life On Mars: UAE Plan To Colonize Red Planet In 100 Years

UAE flip the script from oil to space exploration in move bold to give Elon Musk a run for his money.

By Jeff Vasishta February 21, 2017
Photo courtesy of Yahoo!Tech

The United Arab Emirates is nothing if not ambitious. It’s not enough that Dubai is one of the most modern cities on the planet, with gleaming skyscrapers reaching into the heavens. Now the country wishes to go one, or rather several steps further, and build a city on Mars by 2117.

On Valentine’s Day, at the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai, the UAE announced its ambitious astral plans. CNBC revealed that UAE engineers presented a concept city at the event about the size of Chicago for guests to explore.

On first glance, the tentative renderings for the city do bear a striking resemblance to Dubai. But if it’s resort-like beaches and nightclubs with high rolling Europeans dancing to techno you’re after, staying at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah Mars may prove a little different from its earthly counterpart. For a start, there’s the small problem of humans not being able the breath beyond the earth’s atmosphere. Then there are the extreme temperatures—it’s generally much colder than earth. The average temperature is about minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit, even though it has been known to rise to a balmy 70 degrees.

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Undaunted, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that their century-long effort is not just to inhabit the Red Planet, but to further space science research.

“We expect future generations to reap the benefits, driven by its passion to learn to unveil a new knowledge,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “The landing of people on other planets has been a longtime dream for humans. Our aim is that the UAE will spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality.”

In a series of tweets Sheikh Mohammed added, “The ‘Mars 2117’ project will develop an Emirati and international team of scientists to push the human exploration of Mars in years to come. We aspire in the coming century to develop science, technology and our youth’s passion for knowledge. This project is driven by that vision.”

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Perhaps, the Emirati’s fire was fueled by an announcement by Elon Musk who went before an international space conference in Mexico in September 2016 and announced his vision of a Mars transportation system built by his company SpaceX. He mentioned a $10-billion cost which put it out of reach for much of the private sector and the US space agency. Any notions that the cash-rich United Arab Emirates might collaborate with Musk and fund his operation were put firmly to rest with their recent announcement.

The UAE already has plans to launch a Mars probe by 2021, and has been collaborating with space agencies in the United Kingdom and France to reach this goal. It makes sense for oil-dependent economies, to diversify into new industrial sectors. Perhaps, Mars a century away is a tad ambitious but it sets a marker and changes the perception of the country as simply being a one trick pony.

A press release described a planned scientific team of Emiratis working with a global consortium of researchers to develop solutions to the array of challenges for humans seeking to live in the harsh Martian environment, including the production of food, water, power, and breathable air.

Apart from that, it should be easy.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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