U.A.E.

The United Martian Emirates

Space-colonization dreams from the Middle East

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Once it became clear that "bizarre building plan from the United Arab Emirates" was basically a regional subgenre of science fiction, something like this was probably inevitable:

NASA

Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates' grabbed the world's attention when Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced a plan to establish a colony on Mars by 2117. Officials have been relatively mum about the details of the "Mars 2117 Project"—but [Tuesday] a person helping to lead the endeavor discussed how young Arab people will lead the mission….

According to early mockups, the UAE colony will involve some pretty advanced infrastructure, though more formalized models have not yet been made public.

If there's one thing the UAE is great at producing, it's "early mockups" of cool-looking structures. The structures themselves frequently fail to get built, but don't let that stop you from enjoying the images:

[Hat tip: Bryan Alexander.]

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  1. Imagine: Mars without any alcohol

    1. Sounds like a horrible place to raise a child.

      1. Bet it’s cold as hell too.

    2. As long as The Spice flows freely.

    3. So, just imagine the Middle East?

  2. How do they plan on getting all of those Indians up there?

    1. Beat me to it.

    2. One train? Sorry.

    3. Mars needs sitars.

    4. A giant slingshot between the Burj Khalifa and the Princess Tower?

  3. If only the Martians had a big, beautiful wall to keep the Muslim invaders out.

    1. The Muslim invaders avoid incurring the wrath of the CHOAM and the various houses by targeting the shield wall. You don’t have to be a Mentat to know how this turns out.

  4. Just add some RPGs, and they could make a video game out of those 3D models.

  5. Kim Stanley Robinson imagined a colony of Arabs on Mars in his book “Red Mars.” That was published in 1993.

    Still, I say they should go for it and set a more ambitious time frame than 100 years out.

    It seems to me that the entire region actually used to be more advanced (there was a period in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance where they were far ahead of Europe in math, the sciences, and medicine). But as dogmatic religious types started to lose their grip on power in Europe, allowing scientific achievement to advance, the Middle East started heading the other way. And the religious zanies there now want to take them even further backwards.

    1. I don’t think Arabs or Muslims have ever had a beef against science or felt the need to make pronouncements on scientific matters like the existence of vaccuums.

      1. is that because they suck?

      2. I don’t think Arabs or Muslims have ever had a beef against science or felt the need to make pronouncements on scientific matters like the existence of vaccuums.

        Right, you just refuse any and all social reforms and continue to enforce your religo-cultural norms at the point of a sword.

        You are 100% right. ISIS, boko haram, Al Qaeda, etc. has got no beef with the UCS.

        1. “You are 100% right. ”

          I know. Arabs and Muslims have no beef with science’s take on vaccuums etc.

      3. Yes, the religious fundamentalists certainly do have a beef against science. For example, the madrasas that the wahabis set up in Afghanistan believed the ONLY book that should be read is the Koran. Now I’m no expert on the Koran, but I don’t think it works very well as a science textbook.

        Beyond that, a basic worldview that holds that you must unquestioningly submit to authority (whether you call it Allah, or the Prophet, or the Medieval Church, or your current pastor, etc.) is kinda sorta a small impediment to the sort of open, independent, experiment-oriented spirit of inquiry that drives scientific thought.

        And then you have all the fundies, such as boko haram, who believe that females have no business going to school at all. To them, women and girls should not earn to read, period — not even if it’s only to read the Koran. Last time I checked, females make up half the population. If you make sure that fully half of your country’s population is kept ignorant, it makes it hard to advance scientifically, even if you really push science among the male population (which I doubt they do).

        1. “the wahabis set up in Afghanistan believed the ONLY book that should be read is the Koran”

          That’s not an indication of an antipathy to science among Arabs and Muslims, Knowledge of the Koran in some cultures is the foundation of education in some cultures. If Arabs and Muslims want to study science I’m sure they read the appropriate textbooks.

          “you must unquestioningly submit to authority (whether you call it Allah, or the Prophet, or the Medieval Church”

          Like Jews and Christians, Muslims are theists.

          “And then you have all the fundies”

          I don’t see them denouncing science.

          1. I don’t see them denouncing science.

            I agree. The Nazis didn’t denounce science, nor did the Soviets.

            Your logic is infallible and the idea that there are no homosexuals in Iran and that they’ve cured HIV is irrefutable. The economic policies proscribed by the Quran are stone cold fact but, economics not being a science, means that Muslims aren’t *technically* anti-science. Or at least anti-vaccuum.

            You could not have picked a more well-reasoned, not to mention superficially correct or evident, position nor defended it more transparently and even-handed.

            1. “I agree. ”

              I’m glad. I wasn’t sure whether there were times when Muslims stood in the way of science. I understand that homosexuality is frowned upon, but persecuting scientists for their science doesn’t seem to be part of the Muslim experience. Christianity can’t make the same boast. If you think I’ve been less than even-handed, well I never promised you a rose garden.

    2. if you call about a week and 1 half “far ahead”, I guess you’re correct

    3. The reason was more advanced. Hell, they taught us algebra and how to bathe, for cripes sake. Modern Afghanistan used to be a very cosmopolitan place. Just look at photos from the 1950s.

      The problem was oil. A bunch of hick sheiks discovered oil under their sand and got way too much money way too fast. And with that money they managed to push their rube branch of Islam into the mainstream. Things weren’t too bad for a while, but then the US goes in and messes about with the power structure.

      In short, the redneck Bedouins took over.

      1. Modern Afghanistan used to be a very cosmopolitan place. Just look at photos from the 1950s.

        In short, the redneck Bedouins took over.

        It’s been a backwater proxy for First-World Nations since (at least) the British Colonial Period. It was the redneck Bedouin tribes that effectively drove the British out in the first place.

        The cosmopolitan pictures you see of Aghanistan of the 50s represent effective props generated by Eastern and Western powers at the time much the same way we are or have rebuilt Iraq. Several nations built formidable Air Forces from 1900 to the present day. Afghanistan’s was largely funded built and staffed by Soviets until the mujahideen drove them out.

        The place has belonged to redneck Bedouins for more than a century. Every so often a World Power gets the notion that it lift it up or take the place (back).

        1. “The place has belonged to redneck Bedouins for more than a century. ”

          Bedouins are nomadic Arabs. I don’t think they nomad as far as Afghanistan. The geography of the place makes it a cross roads in the great trading routes than connected China, India, Europe and the Arab world. At times Afghanistan has prospered thanks to their trader traditions, social tolerance and low taxation. I hope I live to see them rise again.

      2. Sooo, we’re just going to ignore the U.S.S.R. going into the area before we did huh? I don’t think you can take it as a given that the United States somehow is at fault for making the region suck. We’re not innocent, especially over the last 20-30 years, but lets not pretend they were a center of civilization before we made the same mistakes as the Soviets.

    1. Have space poop will travel.

  6. Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates’ grabbed the world’s attention when Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced a plan to establish a colony on Mars by 2117.

    Looking for another desert to fight over.

    1. This time they’re keeping the il for themselves.

  7. Do you remember the exchange,” Why aren’t there any Arabian people on Star Trek? Cause it’s set in the future”

    1. More because there weren’t a lot of Arab actors in Hollywood. But there were still quite a few guest stars of Arab descent in the original series, and even crew members in later series.

      Yeah, I get your joke. But it’s not funny.

  8. Send all the Muslims who can’t accept the modern world to Mars? Let them have their society that treats women as objects there? Somehow it is repellent on Earth, but exciting on a fictional planet (Gor), so maybe on a real planet like Mars?

  9. It’s going to be very interesting to see how they solve the “point yourself to Mecca for prayers” problem from Mars.
    Will Ramadan still begin and end based on conditions on Earth?

    1. Its actually a fascinating question – you should see the sorts of things that have been come up with for dealing with being on a space station in orbit and up in the poles (where it may be day of night for weeks to months at a time, imagine how Ramadan could go if you literally had to go the whole month without eating because the sun never set) by people who take compliance with the literal religious law really seriously.

  10. Cool! Then women can not have rights on Mars too!

    1. But all the rouge they need.

    2. If women want equal rights, they can go to Venus.

  11. Muslims are the progenitors of civilization because of algebra and some other shit that Dhimmis pioneered under their yoke a thousand years ago. They even invented the concept of cleaning oneself. Before the Muslims, no one ever cleaned themselves, ever. No one could quite figure out how to do it before them. Glory to Allah!

  12. Are they going to develop those suits like in Dune? Because , YES.

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