The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the launch of the Space Settlement Challenge, a newly established fund designed to support a broad range of research projects focusing on human space habitation. With a dedicated seed grant of AED2 million, or about 500,000 euros, proposals from all over the world are being accepted through “Guaana”, a next-generation platform that facilitates the funding of seed ideas.
This challenge is the first project of the recently-established Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Accelerated Research, an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation, focused on open research and transparency. The challenge accepts all ideas regardless of origin, background, or discipline, and applications for the grant remain open until March 10th, 2018.
The challenge has three categories, with the first focused on Space Settlement and plans for a sustainable colony in space able to accommodate at least 100 people. The second covers Terraforming and Space Ecology, and covers strategies and techniques for livable long-term environments. The third category is Economics, Business Model and Governance, covering optimal utilization of resources and good governance through national policies cementing awareness on peaceful space settlement.
“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,” said Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation. “The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Settlement Challenge we are launching today is designed to provide support for creative minds, unconventional ideas, innovative designs and research.”