The UAE Has Announced Plans To Build A City The Size Of Chicago On Mars


The Mars colonization game has got a new entrant, SpaceX and NASA aren’t the only duopoly in this game anymore. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has officially laid down an ambitious plan to build a city the size of Chicago on the Martian surface. While the US firms have a more current and short-term approach to the colonization of Mars, with plans to colonize the Red Planet within the next two decades, the UAE has a much longer term in perspective. They have proposed a project called “Mars 2117” which wishes to design, build and populate a full-sized human colony on Mars over the next 10 decades.

We have another new player in the Mars colonization game

The colonization plan was announced at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Tuesday. The Vice President of UAE and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, described the project as an ongoing effort of UAE to develop scientific knowledge until the colonization of Mars is possible, he also pointed out that these efforts would require the help of international partners.

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"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," said Sheikh Mohammed.

"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."

The details of the plan are still very sparse but it’s a serious plan. This would be a follow-up to the existing commitment of the UAE to launch its ‘Hope’ space probe in the year 2020. The probe would be to study Mars and orbit it for a while, at least until the year 2023 and gather as much information about the Red planet as possible.

This might be the most realistic Mars colonization plan yet

The colonization of Mars is a much bigger project than the launching of the space probe and those behind the plan have already given an insight into what they think the Mars colony would look like one day.

"The city is roughly the size of Chicago. It has a population of 600,000," the manager of the scientific and research committee at the World Government Summit, Saeed Al Gergawi, told CNBC.

"We came up with that number because it's like someone going to an exotic island. Not everyone can go first, then we get advancement of rocket tech, which makes people move there easily, then the advancement of oxygen tech to make it more Earth-like, which would incentivise people."

All of this seems like a lot to do, but they do have a lot of time on their hands. Unlike other plans that sell the idea of getting to the Martian surface and colonizing it in a few decades this plan actually seems a little more realistic. Given that they don’t lose track and work to the best of their abilities we might see this plan complete (well, we most probably won’t but the future generations might).

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Critics have been criticizing Elon Musk’s ambitious plans to colonize Mars with some saying that SpaceX does not have the type of money required to cover the costs of the project. This Mars 2117 might be our best bet at getting a proper long-term sustainable colony on Mars. We will keep you updated on any further news from this plan, till then do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.