The UAE turned the heads of space exploration fans everywhere earlier this year when it announced its plans to build a mini-city on Mars in the next century.
Officials have since released few details on the project, which is part of its 100-year national programme to better understand the red planet.
But yesterday a key figurehead of the ambitious plans said that the UAE is prepared to join the ‘new space race’ and that young Arab people will lead the mission.
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Since 1965, four entities have successfully made it to Mars: Nasa, the Soviet Union, the European Space Agency and the Indian Space Research Organization.
Nasa has the highest success rate of the four at around 70 per cent. It has sent 21 missions to Mars since the 1960s, and all but six have succeeded.
Japan and China have tried and never succeeded. India is the only Asian country to launch a successful Mars mission.
The US is the only nation so far to land and operate an unmanned craft on Mars long-term.
More missions have been attempted to Mars than any other planet in the Solar System.
The international success rate in Mars missions since the 1960s is less than 50 per cent.
‘In the UAE… we believe that we are on the cusp of a new age of exploration,’ Saeed Al Gergawi, Program Director of the Mars 2117 program at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), announced at the Humans to Mars summit in Washington, DC.
‘[There’s] a new space race that affects literally every human on Earth.’
Mr Al Gergawi explained the UAE’s ambitions for the colony in a panel of representatives from the European Space Agency, NASA and more.
He said that the country plans to collaborate with multiple commercial and national entities to build the colony.
Though Mr Al Gergawi gave little detail as to how these collaborations might emerge, it is likely that Nasa will be involved to some degree.