Dubai is not known for doing things by half, from the world's tallest building to the world's largest mall, this is a town that likes things big. Now the UAE government has announced it is building the world's largest space simulation city, and to top it off it will be designed by one of the world's flashiest architects, Bjarke Ingels, whose company is literally called BIG.

The project is called the Mars Science City and will cover 1.9 million sq ft (176,516 sq m) at a cost of nearly US$140 million dollars. The city will span several domes, including a space for a team to live for up to a year as part of a Mars simulation.

Several scientific laboratories will be included, focusing on developing methods for a Mars colony to produce food, energy and water. A museum exhibiting great space achievements will also be incorporated into the city with the walls of the museum being 3D printed using sand from the nearby Emirati desert.

Several domes will stretch out into the desert

"The UAE is a great country with vision and understanding of the challenges we face and the rapid changes our world is experiencing," says Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister of Dubai. "We believe in the potential of space exploration, and in collaborating with global partners and leaders in order to harness the findings of this research and movement that seeks to meet people's needs and improve quality of life on earth.

"The new project is another step in the UAE's leading contributions to the global science movement; we seek to set an example and motivation for others to participate, and contribute, to humanity's march into space."

The city will host simulations testing long term living on the Red Planet

The project follows on from the UAE's big announcement early in 2017 that laid out a 100-year plan to get to Mars. The Mars 2117 Project is a long-term plan with several milestones to reach before ultimately founding a large city on the Red Planet early in the next century. The first step will be the launch of an unmanned probe in 2020 that would reach Mars the following year.

Dubai is increasingly looking like a town straight out of a sci-fi movie with robotic police and autonomous taxi drones already being rolled out, so why not add a futuristic Mars city simulation to the mix.

Source: Dubai Media Office

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