From Earthlings to Martians
Conventional wisdom suggests that no earthling actually wants to be called a Martian, but then times and mores change. Not all earthlings have the same idea about the red planet either. Many earthlings, however, do have a yen to be first. That’s why competitions of all kinds have abounded on this planet since time immemorial. And now that the universe is our oyster, a race to be first in that arena too was inevitable. So, is it not surprising that the United Arab Emirates has announced that it will complete the first city on Mars exactly a century from now: 2117. The 100-year time frame appears to be almost unnecessarily generous considering how fast the seven Gulf emirates have developed since oil was discovered just five decades ago. The UAE’s unbeatable list of recent construction-related firsts — from the tallest man-made structure on land and the largest mall to the world’s fastest rollercoaster and largest automated parking facility — emphasise its immense capacity to pull off large projects. Add to that Dubai’s announcement last year of building the world’s first “Happiness City” complete with a “reinvented urban ecosystem” to follow up on Abu Dhabi’s first zero-carbon and zero-waste initiative called Masdar City, Emirati earthlings certainly appear to be a shoo-in to become the first Martians too.