Dubai's government announced plans for "Mars Science City" at the annual United Arab Emirates (UAE) government meetings in Abu Dhabi, on Sept. 26. The site is set to be the "largest space stimulation city ever built," according to the government's press release, and expected to cost 500 million United Arab Emirates dirhams (approximately $136,124, 800). The project will be lead by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, and developed with global firm Bjarke Ingels Group in collaboration with a team of Emirati scientist, engineer, and designers.
The 1.9-million-square-foot campus' walls will be made of 3D-printed sand from the Emirati desert and house a space museum. In it, visitors will find displays on mankind's greatest achievements in space exploration and research, as well as access to numerous educational programs.
The space will also include laboratories that simulate life on Mars, utilizing 3D printing technology and radiation insulation to try and replicate the climate and challenges astronauts would face on the red planet. These amenities will also serve to condition a team of scientists that will take part in a year-long immersion experience involving living in the imitated Martian city, in hopes of providing more insight into real-life conditions and subsequent needs.
"The UAE seeks to establish international efforts to develop technologies that benefit humankind, and that establish the foundation of a better future for more generations to come," said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president, prime minister, and ruler of Dubai, at the annual meeting. "We also want to consolidate the passion for leadership in science in the UAE, contributing to improving life on earth and to developing innovative solutions to many of our global challenges."
This new project is part of the UAE's Mars 2117 Project plans—revealed in February of this year—which "aims at its final stage to establish the first inhabitable human settlement in Mars by 2117," according to a press release by the government.