DUBAI, U.A.E. - In an ambitious announcement, the United Arab Emirates has said that it will start work on a new project to create livable environments on Mars within the next 100 years.
The country declared the opening notes on the project at Dubai’s fifth annual World Government Summit, which “brings together prominent leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as international thought leaders and pioneers.”
Named ‘The Mars 2117 Project’, the project was unveiled by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of U.A.E. and the ruler of Dubai.
Commenting on the vision of the project, Maktoum said, “The landing of people on other planets has been a longtime dream for humans. Our aim is that the U.A.E. will spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality.”
“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,“ he added.
U.A.E. has already invested $5.4 billion in its space agency, created in 2014.
The current project was originally proposed as a Pan-Arab Space Agency similar to the one in Europe.
The agency works in partnership with the National Centre of Space Studies of France and the U.K. Space Agency.
Reports noted that the Red Planet is one of the chief focus areas of the agency.
The mission to create human settlements on Mars is set to launch in 2021. If successful, this will be the first Arab probe sent into space.
According to an official statement, the Mars 2117 project will begin with an Emirati team of scientists before it expands internationally.
Over the next few decades, the team will explore how to travel to the planet faster, as well as how to meet human needs for food, transport and energy on Earth’s neighbouring planet.
The Emirati crowd is said to have expressed excitment about the program.
An Emirati student in Dubai, Hamad Rahma (24), believes that the next generations should start colonising the Red Planet for the "sake of science.”
Rahma said, “If I'm still alive when my grandkids are born, I would ship them off to Mars. We have made great discoveries on this planet, but now it's time to explore beyond what is in front of us. Christopher Columbus and other explorers sailed through oceans hundreds of years ago, now it's our turn to reach other planets with our advanced technology.”
A psychology student in Dubai, Khawla Sabil (23), said, "It will be great if my grandchildren can live there but only if they can provide everything for what a human needs. I will absolutely send them there, but I just want to make sure my grandchildren can live there peacefully."
Further, a trainee aircraft engineer in Dubai, Hamad Ismail, was quoted as saying, “They say adventure lies in every corner on earth, but what about space? We lived a good life on Earth, humans are pioneers, but it's time for the next generation to explore the endless possibilities that is space. It would be an opportunity to start fresh, no corruption, no war and no pollution. And maybe this time, they won't slowly decay the planet."