Over the past few decades, oil and gas revenue has helped the United
Arab Emirates develop at a breakneck pace. Its glistening megacity Dubai
is now home to the world’s tallest building and countless other
accolades, while just last year there were new plans announced to build a
completely new “city of happiness.”
The UAE’s latest venture may set new heights in terms of ambition,
however. On Tuesday, at the sidelines of the World Government Summit in
Dubai, the UAE announced that it was planning to build the first city on
Mars by 2117. According to CNBC, UAE engineers presented a concept city
at the event about the size of Chicago for guests to explore.
In a statement, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai
and vice president of the UAE, sounded confident about the project.
“Human ambitions have no limits, and whoever looks into the scientific
breakthroughs in the current century believes that human abilities can
realize the most important human dream,” Maktoum said.
And despite the grandiose nature of the idea, the 100-year-plan does
emphasize some practical steps. “The Mars 2117 Project is a long-term
project,” Maktoum explained in the statement, adding that the first
order of business would be making space travel appeal to young Emiratis,
with special programs in space sciences being set up at universities in
The project will also create an Emirati scientific team, but that would
expand to include international scientists. In particular, these teams
would be seeking to develop faster transportation to and from the
planet, as well as researching what the settlement would look like and
how it will be sustainable in terms of food, energy and transportation.