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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Futuristic Dubai workshop gives students a chance to shape life on Mars

Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation is asking young people to help develop a lifestyle of the future on the Red planet

 Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation is asking young people to help shape life on Mars for future generations. NASA / AP
 Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation is asking young people to help shape life on Mars for future generations. NASA / AP

How are we going to play football on the Red planet? What are the hobbies humans can develop on Mars?

They may seem like questions straight out of science fiction - but as the UAE is planning to establish the first inhabitable human settlement on Mars by 2117, students in Dubai are being tasked with finding the answers nearly 100 years early.

Pre-college students can help design the lifestyle of the future at a free workshop being hosted by Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, starting on July 17.

The three-day event, called Living on Mars, will be led by industrial aerospace designer and DIDI faculty member, Dr Raffi Tchakerian.

As space travel will become the norm in the future, there will be a huge boom in the demand for aerospace designers, believes Dr Tchakerian

Living on Mars will teach participants how to develop concepts of habitation on Mars, whilst envisioning and creating sustainable settlement proposals that will enable humans to survive and create new civilizations in space.

“Design until today has been foreign to aerospace. Most of it was handled by engineers and rocket scientists. Today, for the first time we have designers accessing and getting access to space. When you have the public gaining access to this harsh environment, it will be a problem if it’s not designed by people who understand human factors and the delicate nature of trapping someone in a closed environment," said Dr Tchakerian.

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“There is a desperate need for creative minds to design and tackle the interactions between humans, the tools and technologies they will use, and the environments in which they will live, especially in outer space,” he said.

Designers will be needed to create completely new environments to make sure people do not suffer from monotony and boredom, be it through creating a virtual reality environment or new games or holographic games.

The number of designers working in aerospace is limited at present.

"Aerospace design will be the thing of the future so we have to start introducing it to the young generation who want to tackle design," believed Dr Tchakerian.

"This is something they will be doing five to 10 years from now. After 10 years there will be a boom in this industry," he predicted.

During the workshop, students will design shelters and habitats using the resources found on site. They will use mud, glue, synthetic material, sand, 3D printers 3D modelling devices.

"The students will have to create a new lifestyle. They will choose locations on Mars. Each person will choose where they want to build and they will envision what this future will colony will look like," said Dr Tchakerian.