Mars 2117: UAE’s city of the red planet

Whether you cry a little every time you’re taken to a galaxy far, far away, or you draw a blank when someone cries “Exterminate!” there is no denying science fiction (sci-fi) is a massive part of pop culture. One of the most sci-fi concepts of them all is a city on Mars, which seems to be making a comeback ever since water was discovered on the red planet. Recently, the United Arab Emirates seemed to have become most intent on making a Mars city a reality.

Announced by Sheikh Mohammed on Feb. 14th, the Mars 2117 project aims to not only place a human settlement on Mars, but also to serve to open up the rest of space for humans. A VR experience outlined most of the details so far.

The colony is said to be somewhere around the size of Chicago, with a max population of 600,000 (NBC). The reasons for such a high number, as described by Saeed Al Gergwai, is, “Because it’s going to be like an exotic island, not everyone can go first, then we get advancement of rocket tech, which makes people move there easily, then the advancement oxygen tech to make it more Earth like, which will incentivize people.” (NBC)

Already, this sounds great, but the project is not fully complete. The economic system, for example, is still being discussed. Capitalistic elements are present, but a system needs to be designed with the unique environment of Mars in mind. Then there’s the small matter of the many, many, many environmental issues on Mars – the intense radiation and lack of terrain to grow food comes to mind (

Finally, there’s the technology involved. Spacesuits are a necessity, but they’re not indestructible and could easily be compromised, and the technology needed to extract water isn’t to the point where we can start decorating it like a flying saucer.

Regardless of all this, the Mars 2117 project looks to be promising. But there’s still one question left: what would we call someone who lives on Mars?


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