For the first time, students are being asked to design a city on Mars

Mars stock image astronaut

Is there life on Mars? One day there will be, and we’re going to need some decent malls and possibly a brunch or two.

Emirates Mars Mission is due to blast the first Emirati astronaut into space by 2019 and pencilled in for 2117 is a human settlement on the Red Planet. Although we won’t be around to see it, challenges once humans do arrive include extremes of temperature, no breathable atmosphere, lack of surface and the chance of unfriendly Martians. OK, we made the last one up.

Now Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) is holding a three-day workshop to “teach participants how to develop concepts of habitation on Mars, whilst envisioning and creating sustainable settlement proposals that will enable humans to survive and create new civilisations in space.”

Industrial aerospace designer, researcher and DIDI faculty member, Dr. Raffi Tchakerian, will lead the design intensive Living on Mars.

Starting on Tuesday, 17th July, the workshop for students aged 15-plus will take place at DIDI’s base in Building 4 of Dubai Design District. Here they’ll learn design processes and methodologies that could really help their careers take off.

Kids can join the Nasa summer space camp 

Dr. Raffi Tchakerian will also teach students research and analysing skills and how to integrate science, architecture, art and many other design disciplines, to tackle the concept of living on Mars. We’re hoping for The Jetsons and not Total Recall.

He says: “Very few institutions around the world offer courses in this subject matter, and design, until now, has been foreign to aerospace. DIDI is here to fill this gap, and will be the first institution in the world to formally and academically address this need from a design perspective. DIDI will prepare the much-needed UAE talent for Entrepreneurial Space.”

Places are limited, so get your name in orbit by emailing

DIDI Summer Series Presents – Living on Mars. 17th-19th July, 10am-2pm.


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