The UAE’s space programme aims to establish the first human settlement on Mars within 100 years, according to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, UAE vice president and ruler of Dubai.

Called Mars 2117, the final stage of the project will see the establishment of the first “inhabitable” human settlement in Mars.

The first phase of the project will focus on preparing and developing UAE scientists to speed up the research project in partnership with major international scientific research institutions.

The project will start with a team comprising UAE scientists, which will be extended to include international scientists and researchers, the Dubai Government Media Office said in a statement.

Apart from developing faster transport means to and from mars, the first phase of the project will include an integrated scientific visualisation of how the settlement will look like, and how life will be in the planet in terms of food, transportation and energy, among others.

A UAE team of engineers, scientists and researchers had earlier set a concept for the first human city on mars to be built by robots.

Prior to the Mars 2117 project, the UAE has announced its Mars Probe mission, which will send the Arab world’s first spacecraft to Mars in 2021.