The United Arab Emirates wants to build a city on Mars (Yahoo Security)

Elon Musk isn’t the only person who wants to build a city on Mars. Now the United Arab Emirates has announced that it wants to establish a “mini-city” on the red planet by 2117. 

UAE prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum explained the monarchy’s Mars plans in a series of tweets on Feb. 14.

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“The project, to be named ‘Mars 2117,’ integrates a vision to create a mini-city and community on Mars involving international cooperation,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“Mars 2117 includes a major space sciences focus in our universities. We’re building a space pioneering passion among our young people.” 

It makes sense for officials to use this project to inspire young people: They’re the ones who will probably do the vast majority of the work. 

If the UAE wants to have a fully-functioning city on Mars in 100 years, it will have to be a multi-generational effort that will span many decades, given the incipient state of the nation’s space program and current global capabilities as well. 

In the time between now and 2117, the UAE, with an international partnership of researchers, will start trying to find a faster mode of transportation to the red planet, and figure out what food and shelter should be on the cold, dry world.

“‘Mars 2117’ is a seed we are sowing today to reap the fruit of new generations led by a passion for science and advancing human knowledge,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

The UAE has already put the world on notice that the oil-rich nation has aspirations beyond our home planet, having previously announced its plan to send a robotic mission to Mars in 2015.

That uncrewed spacecraft, called Hope, would fly to the red planet in 2020 and make it into orbit there in 2021. 

Musk’s SpaceX is also working toward creating a city on Mars, though the commercial space company’s timeline isn’t exactly clear. 

Musk claims that SpaceX is working toward sending its first people to Mars by 2024, about a decade before NASA is expected to send their first crewed mission to the vicinity of Mars. 

That said, the company’s plans are still a bit murky when it comes to the timeline for actually creating its city, aiming for sometime in the 2060s.

Musk thinks there will be plenty of people who want to leave Earth behind.

“Not everyone will want to go. In fact, I think a relatively small number of people from Earth would want to go, but enough would want to go and who could afford the trip that it would happen,” Musk said during a speech in September 2016.

Neither SpaceX nor the UAE can get to Mars alone, however.  

Both need to have international and private partners that will help make a city on Mars a reality within their timeframes. 

It’s unclear if the monarchy and the private company will team up on their Mars ambitions, but Musk did say that he’s open to public and private partnerships for the mission.

Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ February 19, 2017 at 07:09PM

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