Gulf state unveils ambitious new initiative spearheading international efforts to ‘make this dream a reality’
The Mars 2117 Project was unveiled earlier this week in Dubai by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who rules the emirate.
“The landing of people on other planets has been a longtime dream for humans. Our aim is that the UAE will spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality,” he said.
“The new project is a seed that we plant today, and we expect future generations to reap the benefits, driven by its passion to learn to unveil a new knowledge,“ Sheikh Mohammed added.
The country has already invested $5.4 billion (£4.3 billion) it its space agency, created in 2014, which was originally proposed as a Pan-Arab Space Agency similar to Europe’s.
It works in partnership with the National Centre of Space Studies of France and the UK Space Agency.
The Red Planet is one of its focus areas: the UAE’s first mission to the planet, Mars Hope, is due to launch in 2021. If successful it will be the first Arab probe sent into space.
The Mars 2117 project will begin with an Emirati team of scientists before expanding internationally, a statement said. Over the coming decades it will explore how to travel to the planet faster, as well as how to meet human needs for food, transport and energy on Earth’s neighbour.
The ambitious project announcement was made at Dubai’s fifth annual World Government Summit, which “brings together prominent leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as international thought leaders and pioneers.”