Space agencies around the world are set to explore the red planet, while Elon Musk has even grander plans.
Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, have launched the Mars Science City project.
The AED 500 million-City will cover 1.9 million square feet, making it the largest space stimulation city ever built and will provide a viable and realistic model to simulate living on the surface of Mars.
The project, which was unveiled at the annual meetings for the UAE government in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, encompasses laboratories for food, energy and water, as well as agricultural testing and studies about food security in the future. The science city will also boast a museum that displays humanity’s greatest space achievements, including educational areas meant to engage young citizens with space, and inspire in them a passion for exploration and discovery.
The walls of the museum will be 3D printed, using sand from the Emirati desert.
Different religions will need to dig deep into their theology to tackle the dilemmas their astronauts will face.
Islamic theology is well-suited to support space travel, exploration and habitation. After all, the Quran includes the verse: “All praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds.” In addition, the Quran dangles the challenge for humanity to cut through the boundaries of inner space and reach other planets and galaxies. It employs imagery that hints at rockets and space travel – but only with Divine permission.
If it’s true that within the next century humanity will be living on Mars, you might want to build a mosque. Experts are already designing homes that can be 3D printed once people arrive on Mars, to save on transportation. I can envisage 3D printed mosques with rotating prayer spaces that constantly adjust themselves to remain pointed at Makkah.
The most fascinating questions will be ethical ones about interactions with other life forms. What’s the right etiquette when you meet a Martian? Could they have a religion? Could you marry one?
Just a little over a year since the UAE announced its Mars mission, interest in space science has started gathering momentum among younger Emiratis.
With the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) starting development of its third satellite — KhalifaSat, due for launch in 2018 — the interest will only grow.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced last year that the UAE would send the first Arab probe to Mars to create mankind’s first integrated model of the Martian atmosphere.
To be launched in July 2020, the unmanned probe called Al Amal (Arabic for hope) will go an approximately 200-day journey. It is expected to enter Mars’ orbit in the first quarter of 2021, in time for the UAE’s 50th National Day.
Over the next five years, Mars will no longer be just another planet for the UAE. The Red Planet will be an integral part of every household, making the Emirates Mars Mission every UAE resident’s affair.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced in May that the UAE would send the first Arab probe to Mars to create mankind’s first integrated model of the Martian atmosphere.
The unmanned probe will be launched in July 2020 just before the UAE’s 49th anniversary. Following an approximately 200-day journey, the probe is expected to enter Mars’ orbit in the first quarter of 2021 in time for the UAE’s 50th founding anniversary.
Five years before the 2020 launch, the team behind the mission said everything is on track.
UAE’s Mars space mission has a new name: Hope The National
The UAE’s Mars mission probe will be carrying the hopes of the country and the region, so it is only appropriate that Hope is its name, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said on Wednesday.
“Sheikh Zayed was the hope of the UAE and the UAE is the hope of the region,” said Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. “Our generation is the hope of Arabs and Muslims, so the choice of the name for the probe is Hope.”
In Arabic, it is called Al Amal.
With 75 Emirati scientists and engineers taking part in the project, the UAE is preparing to become the first Arab country to send a mission to another planet.
“The mission will send three important messages,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “The first is for the world: that Arab civilisation once played a great role in contributing to human knowledge and will play that role again.
“The second is to our Arab brethren: that nothing is impossible and that we can compete with the greatest of nations in the race for knowledge.
“The third is for those who strive to reach the highest of peaks: set no limits to your ambitions and you can even reach space.”
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, called on the Arab nation to come up with a name for the UAE Mars probe that will be launched from the UAE in 2021. “The UAE Mars probe is an Arab-Islamic project and so we want all Arab youth to be involved in it. We want to open for them the doors of hope and optimism, we want their ambition to reach and embrace the sky,” said Shaikh Mohammad via Twitter
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy PM and Minister of Presidential Affairs:
“How are we going to get from the deserts of the UAE to desert on Mars. God willing we will reach there in 2021.”
“UAE is the first government to launch the post of chief innovation officer. We have signed with Cambridge to train them and we have 60 CIO ready to serve every government institution.”
“UAE is investing in the happiness of its citizens, residents, expats. We are investing in infrastructure and innovation to make people happier.”
UAE to establish space agency and send the first Arab spaceship to Mars by 2021 Emirates News Agency
The U.A.E. has entered the space race with a project to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021 in the Arab world’s first mission to another planet. A new U.A.E. Space Agency will be created to coordinate the U.A.E.’s growing space technology sector and to supervise the mission.
The U.A.E. is one of only nine countries with space programmes to explore the Red Planet. The Mars probe’s nine-month and more than 60 million kilometre journey will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the U.A.E.’s formation.
“The U.A.E. Mars probe represents the Islamic world’s entry into the era of space exploration. We will prove that we are capable of delivering new scientific contributions to humanity,” U.A.E. President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said, and added, “The U.A.E.’s purpose is to build Emirati technical and intellectual capabilities in the fields of aerospace and space exploration and to enter the space industry and to make use of space technology in a way that enhances the country’s development plans.” Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said, “Despite all the tensions and the conflicts across the Middle East, we have proved today how positive a contribution the Arab people can make to humanity through great achievements, given the right circumstances and ingredients. Our region is a region of civilisation. Our destiny is, once again, to explore, to create, to build and to civilise.
“We chose the epic challenge of reaching Mars because epic challenges inspire us and motivate us. The moment we stop taking on such challenges is the moment we stop moving forward,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid added.