Moon resort project brings space tourism down to Earth


A proposed resort project in Dubai would allow tourists to visit the moon without ever leaving Planet Earth.

Moon, a resort featuring a large hotel building and a simulation of the lunar surface contained within a giant sphere that doubles as a scale model of the Moon, has unsurprisingly captured the world’s imagination, and I stems from Vancouver-based Moon World Resorts Inc.

Co-founder Michael Henderson said the project can be viewed in “two spheres, pardon the pun.”

“It’s a large-scale destination resort, so it has all of the component parts fully integrated that one would expect to find in a very large-scale destination resort, such as event centers, convention centers and live shows, restaurants and a hotel, Henderson said.

“Then the second angle we come at the project with is the actual identity of it, the moon. We incorporate the building into the world’s largest sphere and within that we have created the lunar surface and a colony, which is what we what we refer to as our signature attraction.

“The project really is all about space tourism for everybody, which has finally, after 20 years, become a thing, but it’s hard to participate because it’s extraordinarily expensive. Our project really is about enabling everybody to participate in this wonderful thing called space tourism,” Henderson said.

The project has attracted significant media attention and has been reported as potentially being located in Dubai, but Henderson said many locations are under consideration.

“Dubai for many reasons would be a phenomenal location,” Henderson said. “The general public in the UAE, specifically Dubai, have gone crazy for this, so it’s interesting just to get some reaction.”

The sphere will be the largest structure of its kind ever made, and Henderson said the exterior will be made of carbon-fiber composite and will use solar power “so that the building can power itself since the sphere is massive.”

He added given the availability of imagery and topography of the moon’s surface through National Space and Aeronautics (NASA) and other organizations, the exterior and interior will accurately reflect the real thing.

“(With) the lunar surface itself, the topography will be based on where we choose that 10 acres to be, and then we will replicate that precise surface topography. All of this has been mapped by multiple space organizations,” he said.

Henderson added when he and his partners conceived of the idea for the resort 20 years ago it was “really, really challenging.”

“Buildings 20 years ago were straight up and down square or rectangular boxes. Today they’re leaning this way, that way, twisting, they’re upside down. Structural engineering has come a long way and pretty much anything you can think of today, you can build, so the sphere is the difficult structure, it looks like on the outside,” he said.

He added the structure is anchored by not only a large tower on the inside but “a little bit of concrete at the bottom” where facilities such as spas, pools, and other amenities are located.

Henderson said the project is well past the idea stage and is looking to obtain a regional license by the end of the year.

“We then enter what we call a pre-development program, which is 12 months to get planning permissions and so forth, and then we start to build. It’s a four-year buildout and it’s (going to be) an aggressive buildout but we can get the main superstructure, all of the disks (at the bottom of the structure) and the hotel structure completed in 26 months,” he said.

“Then the hard bit, obviously, we have to create the sphere, (which will be) more or less 48 months with a very large construction company, thousands of people, probably 3,000 to 4,000 people on the jobs but it’s doable,” he said.

While the hotel tower will be contained within the sphere and act as a load-bearing structure for the lunar surface in the upper half, those staying in the hotel will have wall-sized screens showing any location they choose.

“When you walk into your room at Moon Resorts, you can touch your phone against a sensor and all of a sudden you’re looking at your front garden, or your kids, your dog, your cat. If you want the Eiffel Tower to be there, if you want Las Vegas to be there, day or night, if you want the moon to be there, of course it’s there too,” he said.

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