After revealing its plans to set up a city on Mars within a century, the United Arab Emirates announced its intention to build a prototype of a Mars city on Earth.

Mars Science City

Earlier this week, UAE officials launched the Mars Science City project, which aims to build a realistic model that can simulate living on the surface of the Red Planet.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Sept. 26, UAE said that this structure will be the most sophisticated building in the world.

The project's 1.9 million square foot of land will serve as a playground for engineers to prototype building materials and construction techniques that may eventually be used for building a colony in Mars.

The city will also have laboratories that can simulate various aspects of the environment in Mars, The Red Planet's terrain and hostile environment will be simulated using 3D printing technology and heat and radiation insulation.

The UAE plans to have a dedicated team that will live within the Mars simulation for a year. Members of this team will develop the processes that can help keep astronauts healthy and well-fed during a real Mars mission.

Some parts of the $140-million MSC project will be open to the public, and these include the space museum, which will feature 3D-printed designs that use sand from the Emirati desert.

The project isn't limited to developing technologies for Mars missions. It may also help come up with farming and building strategies that can have applications here on Earth. The project may also help address the challenges humanity faces such as water, food, and energy security.

"We also want to consolidate the passion for leadership in science in the UAE, contributing to improving life on earth and to developing innovative solutions to many of our global challenges," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said.

Preparing For Manned Mars Missions

NASA now prepares for manned mission to planet Mars. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk earlier said that a self-sustaining city with a population of 1 million people can be established on the Red Planet in just a few decades.

Researchers are now on the lookout for technologies to prepare for a manned Mars mission and possibly human colonization of the Red Planet. University of California scientists have created bricks using Mars-like soil in a bid to develop materials that can be used to build infrastructure on Mars. NASA is also testing the best crops that can be cultivated on Mars.

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