dubai mars project
The city will cover 1.9 million square feet Source: Dubai Media Office

On Tuesday, the UAE government formally announced plans for a project to build a city that replicates and simulates the living conditions of the Red Planet, Mars.

The cost of this ambitious program is expected to be AED 500 million ($ 136 million).

The details were discussed during the Annual UAE Government Meeting in Abu Dhabi, where over 400 senior government officials and members of the Executive Council met to review and discuss key national development plans for the future.

Walls will be printed using 3D technology and the foundations will be made from UAE desert sand.

The 'Mars Scientific City' will be the largest space simulation of its kind on earth. 

A footprint of 1.9 million square feet will replicate the exact conditions for human settlement on Mars and will feature research laboratories exploring means of mobility, housing, energy, food security and how humans can survive in such unusual conditions.

The walls of the project will be printed using 3D technology and foundations will be made using sand from the UAE desert. 

The city will also host a museum containing displays of humanity’s greatest space achievements.

Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed described the enterprise as an "extraordinary national project”.

The enterprise is a part of the country's Mars by 2117 strategy, launched earlier this year.

"The Mars Scientific City project is evidence of the capacity of our youth in achieving national aspirations," said Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed, according to Gulf News.

The project will be implemented by a team of Emirati scientists, engineers and designers, led by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and Dubai Municipality, in cooperation with internationally renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels

The Emirates Mission to Mars will be the first probe sent to the planet by an Arab country and signals the growing interest in space exploration by the UAE.

The most ambitious of these projects is the human colonisation of Mars by 2117, with a city built by the UAE. 

Creating a specialist research city dedicated to discovering ways humans could survive in the hostile environment of the Red Planet is definitely a step forward.