"Now we want to start announcing things in between [the 2117 project] that should also lead towards the same target, which is having a human establishment on Mars. Then we announced the Mars City, which has already started the construction, in Dubai it is already started, and we expect by 2021, it is going to be there," Al Rashedi said.
Al Rashedi added that the exploration of Mars for the country was linked to the knowledge that the country could acquire from the planet, potentially leading to its utilization.
"We choose of course Mars for various reasons…there is a lot of things that we can learn from Mars that is more applicable to Earth and to the UAE than what we are going to learn from the moon. So for us Mars is more about learning and potentially also about some sort of utilization, with other international partners," Al Rashedi said.
The construction of the Mars Scientific City is part of the Mars 2117 project to establish a human settlement on the planet by the year 2117, announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates in 2017.
The Mars Scientific City will cover 1.9 million square feet and will cost 500 million Dirham ($136.1 million) to construct.