The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has lofty plans to build the first settlement on Mars within the next 100 years. Without wishing to bring the mood down, there's a slim chance any of us will be around to experience it by then, so thankfully they've created a virtual illustration of what life might look like in the era of interplanetary humans.
The World Government Summit, the UAE's platform to engage with other world governments, has released a virtual reality YouTube video that allows you to explore their envisioned Martian metropolis from the comfort of your armchair. Don’t worry if you don’t have a VR headset, you can experience the interactive aspect by clicking and dragging around the screen.
The experience leads you on a journey around the so-called “City of Wisdom” on the Red Planet. Along with your personal guide, you’ll get to see all the outposts of the city, from the terraformed Martian planes and on-planet labs to the living quarters. Mars might be a cold and hostile land, but this vision of the city looks cozy, habitable, and suitably futuristic.
The “Mars 2117” project was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Within the next century, they hope to set up the habitable city on Mars and open it up to at least 600,000 inhabitants from across the globe.
At the announcement of the Martian City in February 2017, the Sheikh declared: “human ambitions have no limits, and whoever looks into the scientific breakthroughs in the current century believes that human abilities can realize the most important human dream.”
The United Arab Emirates Space Agency is still a few light-years away from competing with the “Big Six” space agencies. Nevertheless, the UAE has gone from a nation of humble towns and Bedouin tribes to a hyper-advanced hub of flashy skyscrapers within 50-odd years. Furthermore, they appear to be taking their dream of being one of the first settlers on Mars pretty seriously. In September, they pledged $140 million to build a 177,000 square-meter (1.9 million square-foot) mock-Martian city on Earth.
For now, enjoy the video: