Dubai is building a mock Martian city

Potatoes will not be on the menu.

Someday, you could take a flying taxi from Dubai to a Martian city in the middle of the desert right here on Earth. In preparation for its plans to establish a settlement on the red planet, the United Arab Emirates has announced that it's building a 1.9 million square feet simulated Mars settlement. It will be called Mars Science City and will serve as home to interconnected domes housing various laboratories simulating the planet's terrain. The team building the structure plans to use advanced 3D printing techniques and heat and radiation insulation to mimic the harsh environment of our neighbor.

Scientists will use those labs to develop technologies that can provide future Martian colonies with food, water and energy. That way, settlers wouldn't have to spend years eating only potatoes in their new home. In addition to laboratories, the man-made city will house a museum showcasing humanity's greatest space achievements, which will boast 3D-printed walls made of sand from the country's desert. There will be areas meant to engage kids and ignite their interest in space, as well. Once the city's up, the UAE intends to conduct an experiment involving a group of people living within its confines for a year.

According to the Government of Dubai, which is heading the project, it will cost around $140 million to build the artificial city. UAE's Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said:

"The UAE seeks to establish international efforts to develop technologies that benefit humankind, and that establish the foundation of a better future for more generations to come. We also want to consolidate the passion for leadership in science in the UAE, contributing to improving life on earth and to developing innovative solutions to many of our global challenges."

The country hasn't revealed a timeline for the project yet, but we'd sure love to see Matt Damon grace the city's ribbon-cutting ceremony.