ABU DHABI, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that it plans to build a city on Mars by 2117.
"The project, to be named 'Mars 2117,' integrates a vision to create a mini-city and community on Mars involving international cooperation," said UAE's Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
At the end of the fifth World Government Summit held in UAE's largest city Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed said that the project included the country's space science research in universities and would gather an Emirati and international team of scientists.
According to Sheikh Mohammed's tweets on Tuesday, the "Mars 2117" project sought to "push the human exploration of Mars" and "build a space pioneering passion among the Emirati youth."
"The Mars 2117 Project is a long-term project, where our first objective is to develop our educational system so our sons will be able to lead scientific research across the various sectors," Sheikh Mohammed said in an official media release.
He added that research on faster space travel, transportation, energy and food supply on Mars would also be carried out.
The initial plan set a concept of using robots to build the city, which was showcased together with virtual reality (VR) experience during the World Government Summit.
Saeed Al Gergawi, manager of the summit's scientific and research committee, told CNBC that the city would be roughly the size of Chicago with a population of 600,000.
With several research and observation satellites already developed, the major oil supplier country is making conquering space a part of its strategy to diversify its economy away from oil.
The UAE launched its Mars mission named Hope in October 2015, the first in the Arab world, with the goal of sending an unmanned space probe to the planet by 2021.
The official website of the UAE Mars mission announced that a spacecraft is set to blast off in July 2020 and arrive on Mars in 2021 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the country, which would be celebrated at the annual National Day on Dec. 2.
The UAE Space Agency has already began cooperation with counterparts in Russia, the United States and other countries to push forward the development of the mission.