UAE Space Agency announces competition

by Clayton Vallabhan | November 26th, 2015

mars-globe-valles-marineris-enhancedThe UAE Space Agency announced today the launch of the “Planet Mars” competition within the UAE, as part of the Agency’s efforts to support scientific research, innovation, and space-related projects. The event will take place in conjunction with UAE Innovation Week.

The competition invites interested candidates from all age groups and nationalities residing in the UAE to present innovative designs for virtual homes to accommodate the future population of planet Mars. The designs must be compatible with the harsh climate on the Red Planet, where gravity is 38% that of Earth, with low temperatures, strong winds, and the volatile seasons.

The designs submitted for the competition should take into account a home with a capacity for two people with an area of ‚Äč‚Äčabout 500 square meters or more, and should provide practical and adequate living conditions for the residents, such as the ability to work and conduct research within special units, and do various recreational activities. These homes should be built using materials available on planet Mars, or for example, through recycling the spacecraft that transported the astronauts there.

The Agency noted that in-depth research on the existing conditions on the Red Planet will be a main factor in the selection of the winning design, since participants will be required to research possible ways to enable the residents of these homes to breathe, find sources of food and drink, generate power, dispose of waste, and cope with the effects of low gravity on their health. The participants should present a complete and clear design compliant with specific measurements, a description of the materials used, and a detailed and accurate explanation of how the house will be built or assembled.

The jury, set up by the Agency, will choose the most creative design reflecting a high level of imagination by the owner, and not just a professional graphic design. The winner will get his design built, which will be exhibited during the awards ceremony “Think Science” to be held in March next year.

Commenting on the competition, Dr. Khalifa Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The UAE Space Agency seeks to attract and train UAE nationals to become leaders in space science and technology. It also supports scientific research efforts as part of a comprehensive strategic plan aimed at the development of the national space sector in the UAE. This contest falls directly under these support efforts.”

Dr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The competition encourages conducting deep research on the natural and climatic conditions of the Red Planet, and thus allows participants to expand their horizons and unleash their imaginations on the natural resources that may be available on Mars, and which can be developed on planet Earth to make up for the living requirements on the planet that has captured the attention of scientists over the past years.”

People wishing to participate can upload the design to the competition website as of today, and attach any relevant information or explanation about the design of the house before March 1, 2015.

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