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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid gets his first glimpse of the future on Mars

Vice President and Ruler of Dubai tests new virtual reality video that simulates life on the UAE's Martian colony

A still from the new virtual reality video that images a city on Mars in 2017
A still from the new virtual reality video that images a city on Mars in 2017

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has had his first taste of life on Mars – or at least a virtual simulation of the Red Planet.

He was one of the first people to test a new VR video that imagines what life will be like for space colonists 100 years in the future.

The video, which has to be watched using a VR headset that can play top-to-bottom footage, is produced by the World Government Summit in Dubai, where the UAE’s Mars 2117 city was announced this year.

The digital host explains that the video is set 70 years after mankind has set foot on Mars, making a projected date for the first landing in 2047.

Viewers are taken on a guided tour of what the first Martian city might look like, with flying vehicles and trees and vegetation growing under a huge dome.

The city is part of a 100-year plan to train a new generation for the space industry, including the first UAE astronauts.

The concept of a city on Mars by 2117 is just part of the UAE’s growing role in space. These include Mars Science City, which will simulate conditions on the planet at a Dh500 scientific research centre in the desert under a 1.9 million square foot dome.

In 2020, the unmanned Emirates Mission to Mars is due to blast off, the first interplanetary mission by a Muslim country. The probe is due to go into orbit in 2021 for the 50th anniversary of the UAE, where it will carry out scientific observations of the Martian atmosphere and look for traces of water.