Space Invaders: United Arab Emirates Plans a Colony for Mars

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, speaks during the launching of new initiative 'Dubai Cares', in Dubai, 19 September 2007. The initiative aims to collect funds to educate one million children in under developed countries. AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIB MORE PICTURES …

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have announced plans to colonize Mars. The ambitious aim is contained in a statement titled the “Mars 2117 Project” which at its final stage involves building the first habitable human settlement on the red planet by 2117.

The 5th World Government Summit in Dubai was chosen as the venue for the announcement with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum (pictured), the Emir of Dubai and vice president and prime minister of the UAE, saying that deep space was a natural destination for his country and its scientific endeavours.

“Human ambitions have no limits, and whoever looks into the scientific breakthroughs in the current century believes that human abilities can realise the most important human dream,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“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. 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.”

According to the statement, the first phase of the project will focus on preparing a scientific cadre of individuals with the skills “to facilitate the arrival of humans… in the next decades.  The Mars 2117 Project also aims to prepare an Emiratis scientists team and to develop an international scientific consortium to speed up the research project.”

In 2015, the UAE announced its Mars Probe mission, which will send the Arab world’s first spacecraft aloft on a scientific exploration mission that “will land on planet in 2021.”

Although the Mars colony remains a distant aim, in the immediate short term the UAE claims it is ready to have passenger drones in the skies above Dubai as early as July 2017, according to the city’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA).

The pilotless drones, designed to carry a weight of 100kg and a small suitcase, will have a range of 30 km, and are on track to take off within months, Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of RTA, said in a statement released at the Dubai conference.

“I am glad to inform you that hopefully we will be able to have these drones available starting July 2017,” he said.

The drones are part of Dubai’s strategy on autonomous transportation, under which 25 per cent of all journeys within the Emirate are expected to be smart and driverless by 2030.

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