Now the United Arab Emirates wants to put people on Mars, too

The United Arab Emirates has announced its own plan to join the race to get to Mars, revealing a hope that it might be the first to set up colonies on the red planet. 

This is part of the Mars 2117 Project that's been announced by the wealthy member states of the Emirates, and they're not going to be happy with driving a remote controlled car around up there and looking at stones either, as the plan is to have a fully "inhabitable human settlement" in existence in the distant future. 

The only problem for space enthusiasts is the timescale. They've given themselves 100 years to do it in, which is quite a large window of opportunity. We won't be around to moan at them should it not run to schedule. 

A (very) long term project

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said the work starts not on building rockets and space suits and exciting stuff, but in first teaching the kids how to be good astronauts. He said: "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." 

So that's a degree in space ship maintenance and hydroponics for the next couple of generations, before anyone even gets to think about what they'd do to stop themselves going mad on the way there and the luxury item they'd take.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been busy talking about it on Twitter too, where he says there will be a push for a space sciences focus in the nation's universities, also popping up images of a few renders of really quite futuristic looking possible Mars bases.