Forget Dubai, forget the Moon, United Arab Emirates has woken up to set up a future city on Mars riding high on the success of Indian Space Research Organisation’s deployment of 104 satellites at one go including its own Niyaf-1, the smallest one in the group.
Unveiling its ambitious plan on Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai, UAE announced to the world it would invest in builing the first city on Mars by 2117 that would be of the size of Chicago.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and vice president of the UAE, said: “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.”
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, on whose name the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) was set up in 2014, has been closely interacting with ISRO ever since the launch of Mangalyaan mission successfully to Mars in September 2014. The UAE is keen to lead the Arab, especially the Emirates’ youngsters to vie for Mars and travel in the future.
Soon after the launch of its satellite, the ground station, located at the American University of Sharjah, took over the control of Nayif-1. “The successful launch of the nanosatellite, Nayif-1, is a significant stride in our journey towards the sustainable development of the UAE space sector,” said Yousuf Al Shaibani, director general of MBRSC.
Nayif-1 was helped in its design of Nayif-1 by Innovative Solutions in Space. Soon the MBRSC seeks to create an Emirati scientific team that would expand to include international scientists. About 40% of its engineers are women and they are currently working on the first Arab satellite KhalifaSat to be launched in 2018 to the Red Planet, coinciding the 50 years of UAE’s National Day.
Currently, French and British space agencies have also been roped in for the KhalifaSat, which will be similar to ISRO’s MoM or Mangalyaan mission. The ambitious plan announced by UAE may not be one of another skyscraper but a whole “City of Happiness” that would be transported to Mars in the next 100 years, which may be possible as 100 years ago, Dubai was just a desert land.
Turning another desert on Mars into a city seems feasible, if it could attract space scientists from all over the world to come and join its project.