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Mars Government The Almighty Buck Technology

Dubai Proposes Giant Simulated Mars City In the Desert (newatlas.com) 104

future guy shares a report from New Atlas: 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 $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.
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Dubai Proposes Giant Simulated Mars City In the Desert

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  • Good Choice (Score:5, Funny)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @02:15AM (#55274809)

    When I think of a wasteland that has little access to potable water, a decaying alien civilization, no effective governance, is a pit people keep throwing money into, that is a good place to die and an even better place to send Tom Cruise, I think of Dubai.

    • Martians are planning to build a giant simulated desert city where real estate prices are over inflated , people are generally dumb and drink more coke than water and go crazy over everything thats gold plated.
    • When I think of a planet that has much less sunlight than Earth, a thin atmosphere, ultra-fine sand, and 100km/h winds, I don't really think of anywhere on Earth as being similar enough to usefully simulate the conditions.
      • You have to understand their thought process: where on Mars would you place the first city/settlement?
        Likely into the desert at the equator, provided you get/find some water over there.

        Dubai is close to the equator in the desert ...

      • Anywhere on Earth that you want to build a sealed dome is similar enough. Doesn't account for pressure differences on the dome, but that's not the most complex issue.

    • Dubai would be a horrible place to simulate conditions on Mars. Dubai has temperatures that range from 6.1 C - 48.5 C. In contrast temperatures on Mars range from -127 C to 20 C (at the equator at high noon). A better choice would be Antarctica during the southern hemisphere Winter..

      • That was my first impression too. Sure, they have the wasteland aspect down, but aside from the view Dubai is nothing like Mars. The 6 people who just came out of the simulation in Hawaii had a pretty nice setup. On the top of a mountain (slightly thinner atmosphere, even though still much thicker than Mars), volcanic topography (rocks and dirt everywhere - just like Mars), and it's high enough that the temperature gets low enough to snow. I'm sure that northern Canada or Alaska has some suitably rocky

  • by Anonymous Coward

    1.9 million square feet is 180,000 square metres. It is not 176,516 square metres.

    In fact, the number “1.9 million sq ft” is likely a conversion from an original number in square metres anyway!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In fact, the number “1.9 million sq ft” is likely a conversion from an original number in square metres anyway!

      Yes, it's actually 17.5 hectares, which is a convenient 175,000 square meters. Nice thing, this metric system. I'm surprised it's not more popular.

  • by sheramil ( 921315 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @02:23AM (#55274835)

    And when the money runs out, we'll have authentic Ancient Martian Ruins.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Speaking of money running out, "More than 85% of the UAE's economy was based on the oil exports in 2009." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]. With electric vehicles and bans of fossil fuels appearing, panic and desperation will create all sorts of ideas. There is an ugliness hidden in the background of all this. When they don't want that oil any more, they will find excuses, sponsoring terrorism, to confiscate overseas investments of the Muslim Arab oil states, to pay the victims (with no new revenue coming

      • by TWX ( 665546 )

        Can't find an immediate source for it, but I remember a story of an arabian man that commented that his grandfather rode a camel, his father drove a Dodge truck (or something practical for working in the oil fields, and the Dodges were apparently very common), he drives a Mercedes, he expects his son to drive a Dodge, and for his grandson to ride a camel.

        The point was that the ramifications of a severe reduction in the demand for oil are not unknown, but at the same time there's only so much they can do abo

        • Something like that might happen sooner than we think. In a lot of places in the ME you can still poke the sand with a stick and get some oil for your trouble; these places can still produce way cheaper than anywhere else. The problem is that the budgets for these countries have grown to match the staggering revenues from oil... oil priced at $75 a barrel and up, that is. When oil dropped to $40, SA was running a deficit that they wouldn't be able to keep up for very long even with their enormous reserv
        • by jedZ ( 571869 )
          The original quote goes like this: "My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel." by Rashid bin Said Al Maktum, who was the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Emir of Dubai
        • "With electric vehicles and bans of fossil fuels appearing, "

          none of that has happened in reality. just politicians' plans in future; ie lots of skepticism is called for. don't put horse before the camel.

          arab oil's big problem is not "electric vehicles, etc", but fracking and resulting glut that is keeping price of oil stagnant(which btw will also make alternatives to fossil fuels uneconomic)

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Problem with those countries who want to diversify by becoming capitalist parasites, produce nothing but charge interest. You can push them out of the market at the stroke of a pen, nothing backs their capital, hence zero it's value is easy. A lot of them were quite naughty when they had fossil fuel money to play with, they willed be punished for their naughty acts because of course if favours local national corporations to do so.

      • ... With electric vehicles and bans of fossil fuels appearing, panic and desperation will create all sorts of ideas. There is an ugliness hidden in the background of all this. When they don't want that oil any more, they will...

        ... do something else with it, like, oh, I don't know.. make plastic , perhaps.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          I've read that oil has a long list of critical uses beyond just as a motor fuel. Plastics, fertilizer, and so on.

          What's always baffled me is why these oil rich countries always stayed just an extraction export economy and didn't use the wealth + raw materials to develop a petrochemical industry. Cheap energy plus a petrochemical and plastics industry plus surplus wealth after that sounds like a great way to jump start a more advanced and sophisticated economy.

          Labor might have been a problem, but given the

        • Dubai could go solar and export the electricity. They do have lots of sunshine.

          However, my sense is that they won't do it fast enough to matter and most of Dubai will be underwater in a few hundred years at the current rate of acceleration in global warming.

        • About 4% of the worlds oil production goes to plastic. Even if they continue to make plastic from oil (which may not be economical), that is still a 96% drop in demand.
          • Then they need to promote plastic the way that cars have been promoted. Plastic is sexy! Plastic is virile! If you wear all-plastic clothes and live in an all-plastic house, eating plastic food, girls (most likely plastic girls) will want to sleep with you!

            "Plastic... plastic gets me hot!" - Professor T.J.Teru, "Ruby"

      • Although burning oil for fuel may be coming to an end in the next 50 years, there are many other uses for oil and there will be many enthusiasts still. So they won't have today's revenues but they have enough oil to supply current usage for another 100 years, if that use drops, that only extends how much they have.

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          If you stop burning oil, the demand drops by a lot. Price depends on supply and demand. You could cut supply to keep the price high, but then you're also cutting your volume. Either way, the amount of money flowing into your country drops. With a serious drop in demand OPEC probably wouldn't have the power to manipulate the market much anyway.

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Oil and natural gas are used in manufacturing in many ways. But normally they take what is not used to burn as fuel. Those refineries also need to change, no longer working to produce as much fuel as possible but the other chemicals to be used in industrial process. Demand drops hugely, glut of oil, kills the price putting all the most expensive sources out of business. The US probably easily produces sufficient for manufacture so zero imports. A large glut on the market means other countries can become far

  • it will be interesting to see how they simulate Mars' one-third Earth gravity.

    Because without that rather basic attribute, it's merely a domed-off part of Earth.

    • not even the Ringworld engineers could achieve that feat.

      They could simulate Mars atmosphere by building the map of Mars hundreds of thousands of feet high, but not the gravity.

      • by mentil ( 1748130 )

        If it's about 70 thousands of feet up, and moving very fast, it surely could simulate 1/3 earth's gravity. Disclaimer: periodic altitude boosts required.

        • by mentil ( 1748130 )

          *meters. Guess who's not allowed to make Mars probes anymore...

          • by TWX ( 665546 )

            Lockheed Martin?

            Perkin-Elmer?

          • The kind of countries that "elect" strategically shaven monkeys with a penchant for war, cling to archaic population control methods run by tax avoiding pedophiles, and which refuse to join the 19th centuary by not teaching their young the almost universally adopted standard for measurement?
    • This is a publicity stunt, not an actual attempt to build a structure suitable for Mars. A real Martian colony would use a cave, not a dome.

      • >A real Martian colony would use a cave, not a dome

        Lava tubes are useful. I like the idea of digging in to bottom of the north wall of Valles Marineris, since the lower you go the more of that feeble air pressure you get to help you out (you can get up to a little over 1% of standard pressure at Mars' lowest points...).

        However, that doesn't necessarily get you near the other resources you need. It might be worth living closer to the poles, or near a major deposit of a useful mineral or a place where th

    • The temperature difference is an even bigger issue; it's hard to simulate a -50C environment when it's +50C outside.

      • by phayes ( 202222 )

        One could hope that they saturate the materials they are using to build this city with perchlorates just as everything is on Mars to correctly model how that impacts the buildings and soil but we're bound to be disappointed. IIRC the previous "lets model a Mars colony with a bunch of domes" was seriously perturbed by unexplainable oxygen losses that they later chalked up to the cement in the buildings continuing to cure.

        • One of the BioSphere projects, and it was not (specifically) a Mars simulation, just a closed artificial ecosystem test.

          And they messed up very badly in how they handled the failure, too.

      • The nights in the desert get pretty frosty, you can freeze to death in the Sahara (at night).

        • True, but in the desert in Dubai freezing to death would take hours, whereas on Mars it will happen in a fraction of a second.

          Those planning a trip to Mars had better bring their jackets, all of them to be worn simultaneously. Urination and defecation on Mars will be life-threatening activities.

      • Around the equator during 'summer' at day time, temperatures go up to +20C (on Mars).

      • Temperature isn't a big problem on Mars for the same reason it's not a big problem in orbit: the air pressure is so low that it's easy to insulate against and you're already living in a closed system.

  • This thing will be a giant greenhouse in an already suffocatingly hot place.

    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      The city inhabitants will flip a coin, win by default, and leave the habitat shortly after entering. Wait, what experiment?

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @03:37AM (#55275085) Journal

    Considering that in 50 years the climate is projected there to become LETHAL to a normal, healthy adult in the shade, I think this is the only way that these countries will continue to exist.

    https://www.theguardian.com/en... [theguardian.com]

    Actually, this solution may work, grandiose as it is, for the rich cities like Dubai (assuming they can live off their oil derived fortunes). Unfortunately for those who cannot afford to live in round the clock air-conditioned environments, like the entire country of Yemen, they'll DIE.

    Or they'll join the hundreds of millions of refugees from that just that part of the world. (It doesn't include the more than HALF A BILLION people living in similar areas in South Asia). Or the hundreds of millions from other countries including East China and even parts of the U.S.

    http://news.nationalgeographic... [nationalgeographic.com]

    Of course, they'll try to find a cooler climate to live in, UNDER PAIN OF DEATH. How the world will handle this, when the (tiny by comparison) six million refugees from the Syrian war has tightened borders everywhere, does not inspire hope.

    The future may be a very very horrific place for much of humanity

    • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer.earthlink@net> on Friday September 29, 2017 @05:05AM (#55275253)

      Well, good thing that UAE is investing in nuclear power.
      https://www.reuters.com/articl... [reuters.com]

      Investing in nuclear power would allow UAE, or any nation, to reduce carbon output and still have power for their air conditioning. Someone might ask why not invest in solar power, especially for a nation with so much access to the sun. As the article I linked to points out UAE intends to invest in that as well, the plan is to get 50% from the sun and 50% from nuclear. I'm sure that such a plan would work well for sunny locations like UAE. For places with not so much sun, like Canada, they might want to lean more on nuclear power than solar.

      • For places with not so much sun, like Canada, they might want to lean more on nuclear power than solar.

        And what do you happens in the center of the Sun, eh?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Wow, I love how you assume these new immigrants will be horrific and destructive to their host cultures. We know for a fact that diversity increases a country's vivacity as well as provides badly-needed low skill workers to keep costs down. It's win-win all the way around, and saying that's some kind of dystopia future is really deplorable.
      • >Wow, I love how you assume these new immigrants will be horrific and destructive to their host cultures.

        There is usually a difference between migrants and refugees - the former are choosing to move and have a vested interest in conforming to some degree to succeed. Refugees are leaving their homes because they have no choice, and they're nowhere near as likely to want to adapt their culture to co-exist. Many of them may be incapable (I don't think I could adapt to a severe cultural change plus a langu

        • Refugees are leaving their homes because they have no choice, and they're nowhere near as likely to want to adapt their culture to co-exist. Many of them may be incapable (I don't think I could adapt to a severe cultural change plus a language barrier, and I don't think I'm particularly stupid).

          California is chock full of these refugees from conservative cultures and difference languages -- hmong, vietnamese, middle eastern, etc. World's 6th largest economy, seems to be working out fine. South Florida see

      • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

        Know for a fact?
        Citation needed.

    • Considering that in 50 years the climate is projected there to become LETHAL to a normal, healthy adult in the shade, I think this is the only way that these countries will continue to exist.

      When are you retards going to learn to stop putting dates to your scare mongering? If global warming were a threat Manhattan would have been underwater a over decade ago.

    • I think articles like the one from the guardian are greatly exaggerated.
      Sure, heat waves caused deaths. However, not simply because of the heat but because of in appropriated behaviour or not taking proper action.
      First of all the temperatures mentioned are not as unbearable as the authors claim. Plenty of people lived without problems through such temperatures, e.g. in Spain, north Africa or Israel.
      You have to wear proper cloth, drink enough, shade your windows, e.g. by putting blankets in front of them, if

    • And this, kids, is what FUD creates.

      Headlines like the linked one from the Guardian: "Oil heartlands of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Iranâ(TM)s coast will experience higher temperatures and humidity than ever before on Earth..."
      (bullshit 'fact' boldface mine).

      When, in fact, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] shows that temperatures in the relatively recent past have also been rather hotter, not to mention MOST of Earth's history being warmer than now...including the bulk of human habitation/evolution.

      This

  • Having spent some time in the UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain) I can say it's humid as a duck fart and about a hundred times hotter. The only similarity it has to mars is the dunes and large expanses of nothing. The Atacama desert is a better simulation.
  • But what I really want to know is... how are they reducing the gravity to match Mars'?

  • If so, the US had a wonderful Mars simulation already in place.
  • by dr_leviathan ( 653441 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @10:10AM (#55276715)

    Mars is COLD and has a very thin atmosphere.

    A more accurate locale would be a very high altitude cold desert. Using those criteria the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica would be a better location for a simulated Mars station.

    • With a bonus that it's remote so you're forced to deal with a tenuous supply and evac route. Nowhere near Mars-like, but still far worse than being in Dubai.

    • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

      But, would do nothing to bring tourist to Dubai. You have to look a the true reason for this project.

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