Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Wednesday directed the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) to lead an ambitious project to build a city on Mars by 2117.
Sheikh Mohammed, also Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, called on the MBRSC to draft a five-year plan to nurture the next generation of Emirati scientists who will work on the space mission.
In a series of tweets, the Dubai Media Office said the plan would include research into space science, artificial intelligence and robotics.
It said the Mars 2117 project would initally be steered by a team of Emirati scientists before expanding to enlist scientists and researchers from all over the world.
The Mars 2117 project was launched by Sheikh Mohammed earlier this month at the World Government Summit in Dubai and will focus on parallel research into exploring means of mobility, housing, energy and food as well as speeding up the time it takes to travel to the planet.
At the time, he 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.”
In November, Sheikh Mohammed approved the final designs of the UAE's Mars Hope probe which is scheduled to reach the Red Planet in 2021.
He gave the green light to start manufacturing the probe’s prototypes, the Arab world’s first Mars probe.
In 2015, Dubai unveiled the blueprints for the first Arab mission to Mars.