Mars 2117: UAE Wants a Functioning City on Mars in 100 Years
The United Arab Emirates is taking the reigns on space colonization. The tiny but wealthy Gulf kingdom wants a fully-functioning and populated city on Mars by 2117. The project is called Mars 2117. I know, very original. But is this such a good idea? And should the UAE be leading this effort?
“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,” said Prime Minister and Vice President Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
UAE leaders and the ruling family made the ambitious announcement about Mars 2117 at the World Government Summit this month. But don’t let the name fool you: Dubai sponsors, directs, and hosts the event. Dubai basically wants to be the Arab leader in aerospace development. So badly in fact that two years ago they dumped $5.4 billion into developing their own space agency.
Well it’s definitely paying off. Dubai already plans on sending a probe to Mars by 2021. Emirate Mars Mission Hope will give researchers a snapshot of the atmosphere in order to start further development. In order to build a city, engineers need to know what kind of climate they’re dealing with. They’re hoping Mission Hope will send back 1000 gigabytes of new Mars data.
So what will the city look like? Well no one is sure yet. And they can’t be until they figure out how to build things in a way that can sustain human life. After the Mission Hope brings back some new information, researchers can try to figure out which types of energy sources to use, how to supply food, and how to provide efficient transportation.
“The UAE became part of a global scientific drive to explore the space, and we hope to serve humanity through this project,” Abu Dhabi Crown Prince said.
The project, to be named "Mars 2117", integrates a vision to create a mini-city and community on Mars involving international cooperation. pic.twitter.com/v27jA3K3pS
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) February 14, 2017
But is colonizing Mars such a good idea? And should the United Arab Emirates have control? UAE leaders have already made it clear that Mars 2117 will be an international effort– but not completely. Emirate scientists will conduct all the initial research and development efforts before bringing the internationally community (private and public sectors) into the fold.
“So what’s the big deal? Shouldn’t we be excited? I mean, people living on Mars!” Yeah it sounds cool and everything. But let’s put our usual concerns about populating Mars to rest for a second and consider for a fact that the first country colonizing Mars will be a monarchy. With draconian laws and strict punishment for any opposition. It’s like Saudi Arabia-lite This is the same country that arrested and charged a British woman with “extramarital sex” after she was gang raped.
Now I know this might not seem like such a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Two different issues, right? But keep in mind that whoever is spearheading the financial efforts to colonize Mars will likely have a fair amount of control over rules, regulations, and ultimately the laws. And ethically, the UAE isn’t such a great place– for lots of reasons.
But then again, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The world and its space program might not even exist 100 years from now for all we know. Until then, you can keep track of the UAE’s exploratory mission here.