The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has unveiled plans to build a £100m ‘Martian City’ right here on Earth in the Emirati desert.
Known as the Mars Scientific City, this 1.9-million-square-foot complex will be completely cut off from the outside world allowing scientists and engineers the chance to simulate what like will really be like on Mars.
The largest of its kind, the project will reportedly house researchers for a year allowing them to carry out experiments on growing food, maintaining supplies and psychological living conditions.
The plan is for the entire city to be completely self-sustaining so that it can accurately apply the pressures that astronauts would experience without any outside help.
Mars Scientific City is the first major step in a long journey for the UAE as it heads towards its eventual goal of building a colony on Mars by 2117.
The city’s accuracy is crucial so it will be built to withstand the same levels of radiation that are expected on the Red Planet as well as containing advanced 3D-printers which can allow researchers to repair their equipment or build new tools.
In addition to examining how humans might live on Mars, the UAE will also launch its first spacecraft in 2020.
Called Hope, the probe will arrive at Mars by 2021 where it will be study the Martian landscape and atmosphere.
The UAE certainly isn’t the only country to be looking at colonising Mars. NASA has confirmed on a number of occasions that it plans to send humans to Mars by 2030.
While Elon Musk recently unveiled SpaceX’s plan to not only build a colony on Mars but to explore the wider solar system.
7 Incredible Discoveries Made By Cassini
Cassini has been getting up close to Saturn's planet-sized moon, Titan. Taking incredible photographs and learning more about its dunes, mountains and seas of pure liquid methane (definitely not for swimming). Not to mention the 95% nitrogen atmosphere.
Just like our home planet, Saturn has powerful magnetic fields at its poles that create shimmering auroras, and for the first time Cassini was able to capture these incredible (and pretty intimidating) images of the glowing-pink Southern lights.
Not only are Saturn's poles decorated with beautiful auroras, they also have violent swirling storms with an (unusual) six-sided jet stream that creates these hexagonal weather patterns. But you don't want to get too close, as NASA found the eye of hurricanes on Saturn are 50 times wider than those on Earth.
Hyperion is the largest of Saturn's "potato-shaped" moons and is likely to be the result of a violent collision that shattered a larger object into pieces. The sponge-like appearance means it has an unusually low density for such a large object -- about half that of water - and any material that comes into contact with it gets blown off, never to return.
Pre-Cassini, scientists didn't understand why Encleadus was the brightest world in the solar system. But Cassini found it has a huge ocean of salty liquid water hidden beneath a surface of ice with exploding hydrothermal vents that send sporadic plumes of water shooting out into space. It is also one of the most promising locations for extra terrestrial life...
The Lapetus Ridge
Saturn's two-toned moon, Lapetus, is surrounded in a cloud of reddish dust that gets swept around in orbit giving it a hellish colour. But that's not the strangest find, for the first time Cassini photographed a topographic ridge that runs along the equator. No one knows yet whether this is a mountain or a crack in the surface.
Cassini's final mission has required getting closer to Saturn than ever before, dropping from a normal altitude of 1,000,000km above to just 120,000km. Although this did require Cassini to enter a "death plunge" and sacrifice itself, it has also resulted in the most intricate images of Saturn's B rings ever recorded, clearly showing the spiral density waves.