This handout picture released by the European Space Agency (ESA) shows planet Mars as seen by the webcam on ESA’s Mars Express orbiter. Photograph: (AFP)
The announcement was made on the sidelines of the World Government Summit
The UAE has unveiled plans to build the first city on Mars by 2117 as the energy-rich country looks to transport people to the Red Planet over the next few decades.
Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced the 100-year national project on which the Gulf state would collaborate with specialised international organisations and scientific institutes.
The UAE will set a plan to prepare national cadres that can achieve scientific breakthroughs to facilitate the transport of people to the Red Planet over the next decades.
The 100-year plan will involve scientific research programmes to nurture national cadres specialised in space sciences at universities in the UAE. It will also entrench a passion for space in younger generations.
The announcement was made on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in the presence of representatives of 138 governments, six major international organisations, as well as leading international tech companies, the Gulf News reported.
The new project will be associated with research themes featuring the exploration of transportation means, energy and food on the Red Planet. It will also try to find faster transportation methods for travelling to and from Mars.
A virtual presentation depicting a preliminary concept for the city on Mars was made during the announcement.
The scientific initiative will first be implemented by an Emirati scientific team, and will eventually expand to include international scientists and researchers that will run in parallel with the coordination of human research efforts in the field of exploring and inhabiting Mars.
"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," Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid was quoted as saying.
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed said that the short-term goal is to develop the capacities and skills of Emiratis.
"The 2117 Mars initiative is a long-term project, which will first help develop our education, universities and research centres that will empower young Emiratis to enter all disciplines of scientific research fields," he said.
In 2015, the UAE announced its Mars Probe mission, which will send the Arab world's first spacecraft to the Red Planet in a scientific exploration mission that will land on planet in 2021.