UAE launches first of its kind Space Settlement Challenge Fund

UAE launched Saturday the Space Settlement Challenge; a dedicated seed grant fund that supports ambitious projects from all areas of research pursuing ideas and concepts to unlock the future of human space habitation.

The Space Settlement Challenge is the first project of the newly established Mohammed Bin Rashed Centre for Accelerated Research, an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).

The challenge aims to attract brilliant minds from all around the world regardless of discipline, background, or origin.

UAE has announced a dedicated seed grant of AED 2 million (approximately €500,000 and $544,520) towards the Space Settlement Challenge.

The funds will be used to bankroll proposals that explore novel ideas and develop new business models for living and working in space.

The challenge will solicit project proposals from diverse disciplines through a next-generation platform called “Guaana”, whose innovative model dramatically reduces the time and effort required to fund seed ideas.

“The UAE has set itself on an ambitious path to lead the global space race, establishing the first city on Mars as per the 2117 Mars Project.” Dubai Future Foundation’s CEO Khalfan Belhoul said.

“Space research is the logical next step in humanity’s search for knowledge and survival, and an advanced means to preserve human cultures, societies, and economies.”

The space challenge is composed of three categories, the first of which revolves around Space Settlement – aims to develop plans for locations that could support a thriving sustainable settlement in space accommodating at least 100 people. It explores matters like construction automation, power, food, water, heating, and cooling, all the while taking the human factor into consideration.

The second category, Terraforming and Space Ecology looks into creating livable long-term environments, formulating strategies for the responsible terraforming of off-planet bodies near the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and other orbital habitats.

The third category, Economics, Business Model and Governance seeks to develop business plans for optimal economics and resource utilization, writing scenarios that identify private-sector partners interested in conducting commercial activities in space. The challenge also seeks to ensure good governance by proposing national policies that promote society’s awareness of peaceful settlement in space.