Yes the orange & blue lights of Dubai can be seen from the ISS, but it is a different city whose lights may be streaming out into the Universe. Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, revealed at the World Government Summit in Dubai the “Mars 2117 Project”. As the name indicates, the goal is to build a human settlement on Mars but the plans will take time - a hundred years’ time. The project is rather ambitious and is on a Dubai scale that is to say it is planned to be the size of Chicago and have a population of 600,000. AND the UAE is putting the first part of their plans in motion: the creation of a scientific team to develop faster transportation and better ways to live in space. The country also has plans to set up special space programs at national universities. BUT that isn’t all.
The UAE wants to initiate something that is a true ambition – to start an international effort where all will work together to this goal. While that is a goal that I can definitely get behind, its timing seems rather unusual. A year ago or five nations working together would be a step forward but with the recent political shift to a more separatist society – with some countries shoring their borders and others working hard to make sense of their current situations, working together is no longer likely. Though perhaps in a few years should it calm down again. Still, the only way a project of this magnitude has a real chance is if the entire world takes part.
But there is hope. Because of the rather large interest in going to Mars by some of this world’s wealthiest people from Elon Musk to Boeing to Yuri Milner in Russia (though his interests seem to be in the Alpha Centauri System) and several others. The cool part is that these citizens and private companies are good at doing things large. Some, such as Elon Musk, have had their own plans regarding Mars but if this group can get together there is no reason they can’t reach for the stars together.
Is this feasible? While many are critics feeling that maybe details relating to how we might eat, breathe and live our lives on the red planet are missing, the time frame isn’t tomorrow, it is at least a decade away AND Sheikh Maktoum seems to agree with Elon Musk that the cost per person to the Red Planet might be $200,000 and then come down from there. Besides – those knowing the extent of water available of the Red planet as well as the ability to ‘mix’ ingredients to arrive at H2O not to mention perhaps take over a lava tube and grow mile and miles of food while building ones infrastructure… It all seems a bit more likely.
Here’s my favorite fun fact: Asparagus can grow in the Martian soil! – I learned this fact many years ago from a scientist with the Phoenix Martian Lander.
This is a monumental and huge decision that is likely feasible but also very detailed and requires analysts to engineers and scientists to all work together. Still, if that work is done, it could be the shining moment of Earth & her collective countries. All having worked together to a common goal.
Of course next situation to deal with is to agree on the politics for this new society. Are they a whole new country, responsible to the UAE or UN or no one? AN interesting thought to say the least!