Timeline of the Future…

hyperspace4I love to study this thing we call “the future”, and began to do so as a hobby the day I made the decision to become a sci-fi writer. And if there’s anything I’ve learned, its that the future is an intangible thing, a slippery beast we try to catch by the tail at any given moment that is constantly receding before us. And when predict it, we are saying more about the time in which we are living than anything that has yet to occur.

As William Gibson famously said: “…science fiction was always about the period in which it was written.” At every juncture in our history, what we perceive as being the future changes based on what’s going on at the time. And always, people love to bring up what has been predicted in the past and either fault or reward the authors for either “getting it right” or missing the mark.

BrightFutureThis would probably leave many people wondering what the point of it all is. Why not just wait and let the future tend to itself? Because it’s fun, that’s why! And as a science fiction writer, its an indispensable exercise. Hell, I’d argue its absolutely essential to society as a whole. As a friend of one once said, “science fiction is more of a vehicle than a genre.” The point is to make observations about society, life, history, and the rest.

And sometimes, just sometimes, predictive writers get it right. And lately, I’ve been inspired by sources like Future Timeline to take a look at the kinds of predictions I began making when I started writing and revising them. Not only have times changed and forced me to revise my own predictions, but my research into what makes humanity tick and what we’re up to has come a long way.

So here’s my own prediction tree, looking at the next few centuries and whats likely to happen…

21st Century:

2013-2050:

  • Ongoing recession in world economy, the United States ceases to be the greatest economic power
  • China, India, Russia and Brazil boast highest rates of growth despite continued rates of poverty
  • Oil prices spike due to disappearance of peak oil and costs of extracting tar sands
  • Solar power, wind, tidal power growing in use, slowly replacing fossil fuel and coal
  • First arcologies finished in China, Japan, Russia, India and the United States

arcology_lillypad

  • Humanity begins colonizing the Moon and mounts manned mission to Mars
  • Settlements constructed using native soil and 3D printing/sintering technology
  • NASA tows asteroid to near Earth and begins studies, leading to plans for asteroid mining
  • Population grows to 9 billion, with over 6 living in major cities across the all five continents
  • Climate Change leading to extensive drought and famine, as well as coastal storms, flooding and fires
  • Cybernetics, nanotech and biotech leading to the elimination of disabilities
  • 3D Construction and Computer-Assisted Design create inexpensive housing in developing world

europa_report

  • First exploratory mission to Europa mounted, discovers proof of basic life forms under the surface ice
  • Rome ordains first openly homosexual priests, an extremely controversial move that splits the church
  • First semi-sentient, Turing compatible AI’s are produced and put into service
  • Thin, transparent, flexible medical patches leading to age of “digital medicine”
  • Religious orders formed opposed to “augmentation”, “transhumanism” and androids
  • First true quantum computers roll off the assembly line

quantum-teleportation-star-trails-canary-islands-1-640x353

  • Creation of the worldwide quantum internet underway
  • Quantum cryptography leads to increased security, spamming and hacking begins to drop
  • Flexible, transparent smartphones, PDAs and tablets become the norm
  • Fully immersive VR environments now available for recreational, commercial and educational use
  • Carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere passes 600 ppm, efforts to curb emissions are redoubled
  • ISS is retired, replaced by multiple space stations servicing space shuttles and commercial firms
  • World’s first orbital colony created with a population of 400 people

2050-2100:

  • Global economy enters “Second Renaissance” as AI, nanomachinery, quantum computing, and clean energy lead to explosion in construction and development
  • Commercial space travel become a major growth industry with regular trips to the Moon
  • Implant technology removes the need for digital devices, technology now embeddable
  • Medical implants leading to elimination of neurological disorders and injuries
  • Synthetic food becoming the rage, 3D printers offering balanced nutrition with sustainability

3dfood2

  • Canada, Russia, Argentina, and Brazil become leading exporters of foodstuffs, fresh water and natural gas
  • Colonies on the Moon and Mars expand, new settlement missions plotted to Ganymede, Europa, Oberon and Titan
  • Quantum internet expanding into space with quantum satellites, allowing off-world connectivity to worldwide web
  • Self-sufficient buildings with water recycling, carbon capture and clean energy becomes the norm in all major cities
  • Second and third generation “Martians” and “Loonies” are born, giving rise to colonial identity

asteroid_foundry

  • Asteroid Belt becomes greatest source of minerals, robotic foundries use sintering to create manufactured products
  • Europe experiences record number of cold winters due to disruption of the Gulf Stream
  • Missions mounted to extra-Solar systems using telexploration probes and space penetrators
  • Average life expectancy now exceeds 100, healthy children expected to live to 120 years of age
  • NASA, ESA, CNSA, RFSA, and ISRO begin mounting missions to exoplanets using robot ships and antimatter engines
  • Private missions to exoplanets with cryogenically frozen volunteers and crowdfunded spaceships

daedalus_starship_630px

  • Severe refugee crises take place in South America, Southern Europe and South-East Asia
  • Militarized borders and sea lanes trigger multiple humanitarian crises
  • India and Pakistan go to war over Indus River as food shortages mount
  • China clamps down on separatists in western provinces of Xinjian and Tibet to protect source of the Yangtze and Yellow River
  • Biotechnology begins to grow, firms using bacteria to assemble structural materials

geminoid

  • Fully sentient AIs created and integrated into all aspects of life
  • Traditionalist communities form, people seeking to disconnect from modern world and eschew enhancement
  • Digital constructs become available, making neurological downloads available
  • Nanotech research leading to machinery and materials assembled at the atomic level
  • Traditional classrooms giving way to “virtual classrooms”, on-demand education by AI instructors
  • Medical science, augmentation, pharmaceuticals and uploads lead to the first generation of human “Immortals”

space_debris

  • Orbital colonies gives way to Orbital Nexus, with hundreds of habitats being established
  • Global population surpasses 12 billion despite widespread famine and displacement
  • Solar, wind, tidal, and fusion power replace oil and coal as the dominant power source worldwide
  • Census data shows half of world residents now have implants or augmentation of some kind
  • Research into the Alcubierre Drive begins to bear experimental results

alcubierre-warp-drive-overview22nd Century:

2100-2150:

  • Climate Change and global population begin to level off
  • First “Neural Collective” created, volunteers upload their thought patterns into matrix with others
  • Transhumanism becomes established religion, espousing the concept of transcendence
  • Widespread use of implants and augmentation leads to creation of new underclass called “organics”
  • Solar power industry in the Middle East and North Africa leading to growth in local economies
  • Biotech leads to growth of “glucose economy”, South American and Sub-Saharan economies leading in manufacture of biomaterials
  • Population in Solar Colonies and Orbital Nexus reaches 100,000 and continues to grow

asteroid_belt1

  • Off-world industry continues to grow as Asteroid Belt and colonies provide the majority of Earth’s mineral needs
  • Famine now widespread on all five continents, internalized food production in urban spaces continues
  • UN gives way to UNE, United Nations of Earth, which has near-universal representation
  • First test of Alcubierre FTL Drive successful, missions to neighboring systems planned
  • Tensions begin to mount in Solar Colonies as pressure mounts to produce more agricultural goods
  • Extinction rate of wild animals begins to drop off, efforts at ecological restoration continue
  • First attempts to creating world religion are mounted, met with limited success

networked_minds

  • Governments in most developed countries transitioning to “democratic anarchy”
  • Political process and involvement becoming digitized as representation becomes obsolete
  • “Super-sentience” emerges as people merge their neural patterns with each other or AIs
  • Law reformed to recognize neural constructs and AIs as individuals, entitled to legal rights
  • Biotech research merges with AI and nanotech to create first organic buildings with integrated intelligence

2150-2200:

  • Majority of the world’s population live in arcologies and self-sufficient environments
  • Census reveals over three quarters of world lives with implants or augmentation of some kind
  • Population of Orbital Nexus, off-world settlements surpasses 1 million
  • First traditionalist mission goes into space, seeking world insulated from rapid change and development
  • Labor tensions and off-world riots lead to creation of Solar policing force with mandate to “keep the peace”

Vladivostok-class_Frigate

  • First mission to extra=Solar planets arrive, robots begin surveying surface of Gliese 581 g, Gliese 667C c, HD 85512 b, HD 40307 g, Gliese 163 c, Tau Ceti e, Tau Ceti f
  • Deep space missions planned and executed with Alcubierre Drive to distant worlds
  • 1st Wave using relativistic engines and 2nd Wave using Alcubierre Drives meet up and begin colonizing exoplanets
  • Neighboring star systems within 25 light years begin to be explored
  • Terraforming begins on Mars, Venus and Europa using programmed strains of bacteria, nanobots, robots and satellites
  • Space Elevator and Slingatron built on the Moon, used to transport people to space and send goods to the surface

space_elevator_lunar1

  • Earth’s ecology begins to recover
  • Natural species are reintroduced through cloning and habitat recovery
  • Last reported famine on record, food production begins to move beyond urban farms
  • Colonies within 50 light years are established on Gliese 163 c, Gliese 581 g, Gliese 667C c, HD 85512 b, HD 40307 g, Tau Ceti e, Tau Ceti f
  • Off-world population reaches 5 million and continues to grow
  • Tensions between Earth and Solar Colonies continue, lead to demands for interplanetary governing body
  • Living, breathing cities become the norm on all settled worlds, entire communities build of integrated organic materials run by AIs and maintained by programmed DNA and machinery

self-aware-colony

23rd Century and Beyond:

Who the hell knows?

*Note: Predictions and dates are subject to revision based on ongoing developments and the author’s imagination. Not to be taken literally, and definitely open to input and suggestions.

New Anthology Sample: The Torch!

Hello all and welcome back for another Anthology Update. As I said a few days ago, there is still plenty of news to be had vis a vis my groups ongoing efforts to create our our Magnum Opus about colonization and space travel, aka. Yuva. And the latest is that I’ve finally begun writing the prologue for the entire series.

Entitled “The Torch”, this first installment in the anthology shows the origins of the story’s central character (Magid Muktari) and his lifelong mission to see humanity colonize a distant world. Thanks to Khaalidah Muhammed-Ali who coauthored this with me and once again provided the characters and impetus for it’s creation! Hope you all enjoy!

“A man of cold, hard science, most assume that Magid Muktari was not a man of faith. At the press conference following the acceptance of his final proposal for the creation and international funding of the Yuva Colonization Project, Muktari was questioned thus by one young reporter: “Sir, can you please explain to us why this project is so important?” Muktari said in cryptic form, “Our Earth is alive.” When asked to elaborate Muktari said: “Has not Allah promised us in that every soul shall taste of death?”

-Magid Muktari, 2108

Masdar City, UAE, 2048

Magid Muktari took a deep breath and tried to remain calm. Oh how he hated waiting! Even after all the years he had spent on the front lines of his industry, waiting for meetings, trips to end, and plans to reach fruition, he still couldn’t stand the time it took to wait for a presentation. But that was the way of it, he knew. Anticipation was the thousand little deaths that preceded the actual execution. One could only surmise from this that humans weren’t designed to wait on others. Either that or the Universe had a very poor sense of humor.

To pass the time, Muktari began to punch up his presentation info. Adjusting his compad to a convex shape and resting it on his knees, he placed his contacts to display mode and waited for the computer to warm up. A command prompt appeared in his field of vision and asked for his password. He typed it in promptly.

Meşale

His eyes filled with a cerulean blue sky, small clouds and a series of desktop icons dotted the projected heavens. Accessing the proper folder, he accessed the presentation and waited a moment. The opening display image, five planets arranged from left to right, appeared in his visual field shortly thereafter.

The Future of Off-World Settlement, ran the title. A title bar appeared beneath the five planets, their names scrolling out as the marble-sized pictures became animated.

Gliese 581 g, Gliese 667C c, Kepler 22 b, HD 85512 b, Gliese 581 d

Placing his hands above the compad again, Muktari brought up the first of the five. The brown marble moved to the center of his visual field, displacing the rest and growing exponentially in size. A soft contralto began to speak in the background.

“Planet Gliese 581 g, fourth planet of the Gliese 581 star system. Discovered in 2000 by Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey, led by principal investigator Steven S. Vogt, who named the planet Zarmina after his wife – ”

Muktari terminated the audio and began interfacing with the image. Zooming in on the planetary mass, he began to assess the features that had been observed from the most recent astronomical surveys. Being a tidally-locked body, only so much was visible, and most of that was only clear when the space telescope and the exoplanet’s rotations were in perfect sync. He moved back and forth, noting the outlines of a large continent facing towards the sun.

No, not a lot happening there, he thought gravely.

Putting it back in its place, he called forth the second in the list. Here too, the disc look particularly brown and mottled. However, its size and relevant characteristics set it apart from the previous entry, and here too Muktari began to worry. Super-Earth’s were not exactly a popular destination for colonists, not when they could expect a serious and potentially punitive adjustment period.

Muktari shut the display down and took a deep breath. Moments away from the greatest presentation he would ever make, that perhaps anyone would ever make, and he was already beginning to write himself off. Not a good sign, not if he wanted to have any chance at convincing Zimmerman of his sincerity.

There were those who said that the great Magid Muktari could sell ice to the Eskimos. Other’s said he could sell sand to the Arabs. He never cared for either assessment; both seemed to be both inaccurate and quite bigoted in his estimation. But the sentiment he understood.

But then again, the sheer scope of what he was proposing might have had something to do with that. Were this just another pitch, a proposal for more allocations, more surveys or more satellite deployments, he probably wouldn’t be giving it a second thought. And after years of bending the ears of government and industry officials who did business with them, he had earned himself enough capital to make a few pitches of his own.

If he screwed this up, all that capital would burn up and be gone. What’s more, he would be humiliated in front of the man he had come to respect more than any other…

Across from him, seated at her desk, the assistant seemed to stir. In her eye piece, the image of a face appeared and she began conversing with it. Muktari was only privy to one half of the conversation, which was mainly her agreeing.

 “Yes… yes… yes, sir. I will pass that along.”

The image faded and she looked over to Muktari.

“Mr. Zimmerman’s plane has just landed. He will be here in five minutes.”

Muktari nodded. Another thing that hadn’t changed over the years. Regardless of how much time transit really took, it was an administrative habit to say that it would take five. And he knew from experience that a pod ride from the aerospace port to the office building would take at least ten. And then he would no doubt be mobbed by half a dozen assistants and corporate middle-men who needed to advise him and brief him on his way in. In truth, he would be lucky if he spoke to him before the hour was out.

He checked his chrono just to get a sense of the time. His watch was still set to orbital time. He shook his head when he realized that that was the last time he had slept, in a room near the tip of the axis looking out at the southern tip of Chile. Ever since, he had been running on a non-stop diet of aerospace lag, adrenaline and EBME.

At last, the woman at her desk looked up again and got that distant look in her eyes. She repeated the familiar string of secretary talk.

“Yes… Hello. Yes, sir, he is. Right away, sir.” Her call ended and her eyes focused on him. “Mr. Zimmerman will see you now.”

Muktari smiled and placed his compad back in the satchel. Getting to his feet, he ran a hand through his hair and straightened his blazer. His clothes were fresh, but his skin still felt like it was carrying a few days’ worth of residue. He discreetly checked for any telltale signs of body odor as well, and was reasonably confident the natural musk he was carrying wouldn’t kill his boss. After many minutes in the same room as him, the secretary seemed undisturbed.

Here we go, he thought, and set off for the door.

The door slid open, revealing Zimmerman in the middle of freshening up. This consisted of him shedding his blazer and replacing it with one of the many he kept hanging in his side closet. He looked up with mild amusement at Muktari’s entrance.

“Magid,” he said, throwing on a fresh top. “You’ve travelled some distant to and come see me.”

“Yes I have, but only a fraction of your own, from what I hear.”

“Yes,” he said with a sigh. “The Jovian tour was quite extensive. One has to wonder why we can’t just teleconference the entire process.”

 Muktari smiled. Though he tended to complain upon his returns, everyone knew that Zimmerman remained an engineer at heart. Whenever new facilities went in and processing began, he insisted on conducting spot checks in person. Somehow, the virtual variety did not inspire much in the way of confidence from people like him, men who openly bragged about being educated in a simpler time.

“So…” he said, taking his seat. “What’s so important you had to see me as soon as I got back?”

“Well sir, I wanted to see you while the trip was still fresh in your mind.”

“Oh?” Zimmerman said with a nod. “Then this ought to be good.”

Muktari chuckled and placed his satchel down beside the seat in front of him. He removed his compad again and placed it directly on top of Zimmerman’s desk. He keyed up the 3D display and sat back.

“As it stands, this company is responsible for almost half of the development taking place in the outer Solar System. Unlike many other firms that see little promise in anything beyond the Belt, we’re renowned for taking the long view. That’s what I’m hoping to tap into.”

Zimmerman grumbled. “Why do I have the sinking feeling you’re winding up for a very slow pitch?”

Muktari chuckled. “Shall I cut to the chase?”

“Please do. Formal presentations are for board rooms and junior execs.”

Muktari terminated the display on his compad and stood. He walked to the room’s window and looked outside. The glittering spires of Abu Dhabi shined in the distance, visible just beyond the cities limits. He took a deep breath and started from the beginning.

“How long have I been in your employ, sir?  Ten years, the last six of which I’ve spent as the head of our eco-engineering division. Much of the technology that was borne here and is now being adapted by other cities worldwide originated in our labs. And yet, everywhere I go, I hear the same basic reports, the same alarming assessments.”

Zimmerman looked on and pursed his lips. He was still waiting for the point to emerge. His recent travel had clearly taxed his patience to its very limit. He decided to expedite things.

“As it stands, eco-engineering accounts for over twenty percent of our government’s annual global spending.  Investment and development have been moving more and more to off world locations. And it’s estimated that by the end of this century, the majority of our planet’s heavy industry will be relocated to Luna, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt. All this points towards a singular trend.”

“Extra-terrestrial development,” Zimmerman said obviously. “What of it?”

“But what drives it?” Muktari asked, turning to look him in the eye. “What knowledge prompted us to create orbital facilities, off-world mining and agricultural settlements, and to spend so much, year after year, trying to keep global mean temperatures down?”

Zimmerman nodded. The inclusion of that last detail was indication enough of what he was getting at. Naturally, he let him continue.

“The Earth is still cycling towards death, its oceans are still rising, its coastal areas are still plagued by floods and storms, drought and famine are still causing untold damage and death in the most densely populated regions, and humanitarian crises abound. What’s more, off-world settlement was hoped to be a means of relieving population pressures here at home; but you are certainly aware, the Solar Colonies maintain some of the highest birth rates, compared to Earth. Soon enough, there won’t be enough room and expansion will just shift the burden, but not by enough to make a difference here at home. When it comes right down to it, the scientific consensus on Earth’s longevity is clear.”

Zimmerman nodded, quoting from the latest findings. “Barring some major technological developments, such as the development of full-spectrum nanotechnology and/or a full-spectrum development of the Earth’s equatorial regions, and we can expect that most of the planet will be only partially habitable by 2100.”

Muktari extended his hand, palm facing up. The point was laid bare. He went back to his seat and lowered himself into it, careful not to strain any of his tired muscles.

“We proceed on track as if our current measurements will be enough to stay the torrent, but the problem continues to grow unabated. And just about everywhere I go, I am asked how we will save the planet.”

Zimmerman allowed for a brief pause and then raised his hands. “I’m on the edge of my seat, Muktari. What are you proposing?”

Muktari sighed and held his hands in front of him. This was where things would truly be tested. It was do or die time, he could hesitate no longer.

“Not too long ago, a colleague of mine, Adamcik, you’ve met him.” Zimmerman hummed affirmatively. “He hit me with a rejoinder not too long ago which truly vexed me. I asked him how we would go about addressing this planet’s needs. He retorted by asking me, ‘what if this planet is the problem?’”

Zimmerman frowned. Muktari had done much the same when he first Serge say it.

“When it comes right down to it, our homeworld is plagued by three separate problems – overpopulation, environmental degradation, and economic underdevelopment.” He raised his fingers, counting them off. “All of these are interrelated and compounded by one another. What’s more, attempts to remedy any one of them inevitably meets with failure due to the presence of the other two. We address the planet at the expense of the economy, we promote economic development at the expense of the environment, and all attempts at addressing the population fails as long as the economic divide remains. And our Extra-Terrestrial colonies aren’t going to solve this problem any time soon, and simply are not big enough to host our civilization should Earth fall.” He paused for the last time and took a deep breath. “So what if we looked farther abroad?”

Zimmerman raised an eyebrow. He was intrigued, Muktari was thankful for that much.

“Within this arm of the Galaxy, we’ve already confirmed the existence of several dozen Earth-like planets. Of the top five contenders, four are within 35 light-years from us; which, given the current state of technology and a hefty investment, can be traversed in just over a century.”

“Wait a minute!” Zimmerman raised his hand. “You’re talking about actual exoplanet colonization?” Muktari nodded. Zimmer waited for a moment, seemingly waiting for the punch line, and then scoffed. “Magid, you know as well as I do that research and development for deep space travel is a mere fraction of what we dedicate to aerospace development. For anyone to even begin contemplating an interstellar expedition, billions in investment capital would have to be poured into research and development.”

“I know,” replied Muktari. “Which is precisely what I suggest we do. If we create an exoplanet division, right away, we could produce a worthy vessel within a quarter of a century. Of all the viable candidates, two exist within the same star system and happen to be closest. Give them one-hundred years to reach –”

“How much?” Zimmerman said intrusively.

“All told, roughly fifteen percent of our annual gross. However, we’d need to outsource some of concerns, which would mean partnering with other corporations worldwide. We might also be able to convince a number of NGO’s and government bodies to –”

“Magid!” Zimmerman raised his hand again and kept it raised. When a few seconds of silence passed, he lowered it and sighed before talking again. Not that he needed to, Muktari had known for some time that he had lost him. He sighed and resigned himself for what was coming.

“You’ve compiled all this into a presentation, yes?”

“Yes,” Muktari said with a  resigned nod.

“Good. Let me look over it and present it at the next board meeting. I’m sure they will find it all… very illuminating.”

Muktari fetched his compad and keyed up the transfer sequence. Within seconds, a copy of his full presentation was transferred to Zimmerman’s personal files and the system acknowledged the receipt. Standing, he extended his hand and shook Zimmerman’s. He didn’t bother to get up.

He turned to leave, knowing there was little more that could be said. Unfortunately, something was holding him back once he reached the door. Some small shred still needed to be shared, a final push before he abandoned the office and trusted in his boss’ judgment to make the right decision. He knew that if he left without saying it, his idea would fall on deaf ears. With that degree of certainty, what else did he have to lose?

“Sir, if I may say one final thing…?” He turned to face his boss again, received a nod of approval. “Since time immemorial, civilizations have used the symbol of the torch to symbolize the life of their civilizations. I think the reason for this is obvious. Flames banish the darkness of confusion, death and despair. They light the way to the future. But most importantly, they are temporal. A flame, like a culture, or any other living thing, is impermanent. It requires care and commitment to keep it alight. When the flame begins to falter, or the bearer of it loses their footing, they must pass it onward. They throw the torch, as it were, to keep it aflame. If we are facing the death of our civilization here at home, then we must contemplate passing it onward, and to a suitable place. Before it’s too late.”

Zimmerman took a few slow, heavy breaths. When he was finished, all he could do was shook his head and offer the same tired reassurances.

“I admire your passion, Magid. However, I think your sights are focused just a little too far. In time, what you’re proposing might be feasible, but as it stands, no one is going to jump on this, not when the payoff is so immensely distant and the risks so high. I’d set your sights closer, focus on the work and development which needs to be done here. Then we’ll talk about looking to the stars.”

He smiled, a warm little gesture to let Muktari know he still held him in esteem. Muktari smiled back, thankful for that much, and showed himself out.

Masdar City

Imagine a city that runs entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy source. A city that generates entirely no carbon and no waste, with mass transit that relies on electronic, computer-controlled pod cars. That is the concept behind Masdar City, a planned urban environment located 17 km south-east of the capital of the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi).

Designed by the British architectural firm Foster and Partners, and with the majority of the seed capital coming from the government of Abu Dhabi, Masdar is a blueprint for future cities based on sustainability, clean energy, and the latest and best in manufacturing, recycling and waste management technology. On top of that, it will contain some of the most advanced facilities in the world, dedicated to science, commerce and eduction.

In essence, it is the answer of what to do about rapidly advancing technology, urban growth, and development in the developing world. Point of interest include:

Masdar Institute:
Wouldn’t you know it? At the heart of a city based on sustainability and clean energy is an institute dedicated to the furtherance of these very things. Known as the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), this research-oriented university was developed in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and focuses on the development of alternative energy, sustainability, and the environment.

In addition, its facilities use 70% less electricity and potable water than normal buildings of similar size and is fitted with a metering system that constantly observes power consumption. It’s full range of programs include Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Engineering Systems and Management, Water and Environmental Engineering, Computing & Information Science, Electrical Power Engineering and Microsystems.

Renewable Energy:
In addition to its planned 40 to 60 megawatt solar power plant, which will power further construction projects, with additional solar panels to  be placed on rooftops, for a total output of 130 megawatts. In addition, wind farms will be established outside the city’s perimeter capable of producing up to 20 megawatts, and the city intends to utilise geothermal energy as well.In addition, Masdar plans to host the world’s largest hydrogen power plant, a major breakthrough in terms of clean energy!

Water Management:
When it comes to water consumption, that too will be handled in an environmentally-friendly way that also utilizes solar energy. At the hear of this plan lies a solar-powered desalination plant. Approximately 80 percent of the water used will be recycled and waste greywater will be reused for crop irrigation and other purposes.

Waste Management:
As already noted, the city will also attempt to reduce waste to zero. Biological waste will be used to create nutrient-rich soil and fertiliser, and plans exist to incinerate it for the sake of generating additional power. Industrial waste, such as plastics and metals, will be recycled or re-purposed for other uses. The exterior wood used throughout the city is Palmwood, a sustainable hardwood-substitute developed by Pacific Green using plantation coconut palms that no longer bear fruit.

Transportation:
Initially, the planners for Masdar considered banning the use of automobiles altogether, focusing instead on mass transit and personal rapid transit (PRT) systems, with existing road and railways connecting to other locations outside the city. This systems utilize a series of podcars, designed by the company 2getthere, contains 10 passenger and 3 freight vehicles and serves 2 passenger and 3 freight stations connected by 1.2 kilometers of one-way track.

The cars travel at an average of 20km/h (12mph), trips take about 2 and a half minutes and are presently free of charge. Last year, a system of 10 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars was deployed as part of a one-year pilot to test a point-to-point transportation solution for the city to complement the PRT and the freight rapid transit (FRT).

Summary:
Given the mounting environmental crisis this planet faces, cities like Masdar may very well be the solution to future urban planning and expansion. But of course, as an incurable sci-fi geek, I also consider cities like this to be a handy blueprint for the day when it comes time to plan extra-solar and even exoplanet settlements. Not only are they effective at curbing our carbon footprint and environmental impact, they are also a  good way to start over fresh on a new world!

Related links:
Masdar Institute (http://www.masdar.ac.ae/)
Masdar City (http://www.masdar.ae/en/home/index.aspx)