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UAE Wants To Grow Date Palms And Strawberries On Planet Mars

15 November 2017, 7:46 am EST By Allan Adamson Tech Times
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The UAE Space Agency is funding research to grow palm trees, strawberries and tomatoes on Mars. Here's why the Arabic country wants to grow date palm trees on the Red Planet.   ( Mahmud Turkia | Getty Images )

The United Arab Emirates earlier revealed its plan to launch a probe to planet Mars. It also unveiled its ambition to colonize the Red Planet but the Arab country is not stopping there. It also wants to grow palm trees and crops in the arid world.

Growing Trees And Crops On Mars

UAE Space Agency senior strategic partner Rashid Al Zaadi said that there are similarities between Mars and the desert, so, UAE came up with a decision to fund projects that aim to grow date palms and lettuces as well as tomatoes and strawberries on Mars.

Al Zaadi noted the importance of having trees and crops on the Red Planet amid plans of colonizing Mars. He said that date palm was chosen because of its symbolic link with the region. The lettuce, strawberries, and tomatoes, on the other hand, were chosen because scientists have already established their feasibility of growing on Mars.

"The landscape of the UAE, the soil, are similar," Al Zaadi said. "Well, when we get there, we'll have to eat," Al Zaadi said.

NASA is also working on finding crops that can be possibly grown on Mars. Last year, the U.S. space agency said it is working with Florida Tech Buzz Aldrin Space Institute in Melbourne, Florida to conduct studies on simulated "Martian garden." The objective is to find crops that can be planted in a farm on the Red Planet. Scientists said that the discoveries made in these Martian garden may pave way for efficient food production in space.

The UAE Space Agency was only set up in 2014 but the country has already invested more than $5.4 billion in its Mars project, which includes the Mars probe. This year's Dubai Airshow featured a full-scale mock-up of this probe.

Resurrecting A Lost Arabic Trait

UAE Space Agency Director General Mohammed Al Ahbabi revealed at the airshow on Tuesday that the intention of the first ever Arabic and Islamic space mission is to educate and inspire.

He also said that the country's space program aims to help revive the lost Arabic trait of understanding the galaxy citing that the region was the base of astronomy between 600 and 700 years ago.

"Two-thirds of the stars that we can see with our naked eyes have Arabic or Islamic names," Al Ahbabi said. "Unfortunately there was a decline but now through this big project we want to send a message to the people that it is still possible to study space."

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