The head of a privately funded one-way trip to Mars wants to build a simulation centre to train astronauts for their journey in the UAE, according to local media.
Bas Lansdorp, founder of Mars One, told 7Days newspaper that “Dubai looks a little like Mars, with very little vegetation”, and would be the “perfect place” to train candidates.
The $6 billion Mars One Project aims to send people on a one-way mission to colonise the Red Planet by 2027.
Earlier this year, the company selected its first 100 candidates for full-time training ahead of the proposed voyage in 2024. By next year the number will be whittled down to 24 and split into small groups that will spend the following eight years preparing for the mission.
Just four will make the first trip to Mars, with plans to send four more every two years.
In an interview with 7Days, Lansdorp reportedly say Dubai’s climate is similar to Mars in many ways and it would help astronauts to adjust to the Martian atmosphere.
He said he would like Dubai to be one of several outposts to be built across the world to train up the shortlisted candidates – with locations yet to be decided.
Lansdorp said: “Dubai looks a little like Mars, with very little vegetation. There are a lot of other places we can use, but Dubai has the kind of climate that helps the crew during training.
“We need to create an atmosphere similar to Mars and Dubai would be an ideal place to do that. The training of the crew is very important. The simulation outpost would include something similar to what was shown in the film ‘The Martian’.”
Lansdorp added that the main challenge has been finding the right investors and the “right crew”.
“It’s clear that a lot of people are willing to go and live on Mars, but it’s about finding the people who are capable to do so,” he was quoted as saying.
In an interview with Arabian Business in April, Lansdorp said extensive research and development is taking place to launch a satellite into the Martian orbit by 2018; complete with an unmanned mission to identify a settlement location by 2020; conduct the tests to ascertain what life support the astronauts will need to survive on Mars, and build the actual rocket that will blast them on their way.
However, scarcely any research had been completed in the four years since Mars One unveiled its plans, at the time of writing.For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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