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UAE launches $136m Mars Science City project

The city will simulate the red planet’s terrain and harsh environment through advanced 3D printing technology and heat and radiation insulation

Mars Science City will simulate the environment and conditions on Mars [image: WAM].
Mars Science City will simulate the environment and conditions on Mars [image: WAM].

The UAE has taken one step closer to its goal of leading the global scientific race to establish a human settlement on Mars with the launch of the Mars Science City project.

The project was unveiled yesterday by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at the annual meetings for the UAE government in Abu Dhabi.

Spanning 190ha, the $136m (AED500m) development, upon completion, will take the world title of the largest space simulation city ever built, UAE state news agency, WAM, reported.

With this project, the UAE aims to replicate the environment and conditions on the surface of Mars.

The city will comprise several domes and laboratories that simulate the red planet’s terrain and harsh environment through advanced 3D printing technology and heat and radiation insulation.

According to WAM, innovative construction techniques will be employed to ensure that the dome structures will have sufficient support.

The project, led by a team from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and Dubai Municipality, will be implemented by Emirati scientists, engineers, and designers, in cooperation with Bjarke Ingels architects.

The city will feature food, energy, and water laboratories, as well as agricultural testing and studies about food security in the future. It will also have a museum that will not only showcase humankind’s greatest space achievements but also incorporate educational spaces targeted at the youth.

The walls of the museum will be 3D printed, using sand from the UAE desert, WAM added.

Read: Five year plan revealed for UAE Mars 2117 project

At the meetings, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said: "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. 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."

He continued, "The UAE is a great country with vision and understanding of the challenges we face and the rapid changes our world is experiencing. 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 in, and contribute to, humanity’s march into space.”

Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed commented: "We have great confidence in our national work teams, and [the] Emirates Mars Mission proves that our youth are trustworthy and capable of achieving national ambitions."

The project will reportedly involve an experiential component, whereby a team will live in the Mars Science City for a year and carry out experiments on self-sufficiency in energy, water, and food.

The Mars Science City project is part of the UAE’s Mars 2117 Strategy, which seeks to build the first settlement on Mars in the next 100 years.

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