Will Dubai Moon Shine Too Bright?

05/23/2023
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    An artist rendering showing the $5 billion project, MOON envisioned on the Dubai Pearl, a coveted plot of land. (Michael Henderson/Moon World Resorts via AP)
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    Michael Henderson, co-founder of Moon World Resorts discusses his brainchild, a proposal to build a $5 billion moon-shaped resort, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Nick El Hajj – Click to enlarge.)
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A proposed $5 billion real estate project may take skyscraper-studded Dubai to new heights—by reaching for the Moon. In this space-age city, an out-of-this-world orb may not appear out of place. But will it shine too bright for the neighbors?

The United Arab Emirates’ most populous city is already home to the world’s tallest building and other architectural wonders. Now Canadian entrepreneur Michael Henderson hopes to build a 900-foot replica of Earth’s Moon atop a 100-foot building in Dubai. His project is aptly named MOON.

“We have the biggest ‘brand’ in the world,” Henderson says, as if the Moon is his personal trademark. Moon World Resorts Inc., where Henderson is co-founder, is funding his grandiose vision.

Of course, Earth’s natural satellite—and the entire universe—belong to God. He calls the Moon “a faithful witness in the skies.” (Psalm 89:37) It serves as a nightly reminder of God’s steadfast love.

Henderson proposes a destination resort inside his round MOON structure. Plans include a 4,000-room hotel, a 10,000-person arena, and a “lunar colony.” The area would give guests the sensation of actually walking on the Moon.

The MOON would sit on a pedestal-like building. The round faux planet would glow a la true Moon at night.

Artist renderings commissioned by Moon World Resorts have projected several locales for Henderson’s MOON. Possible locations include the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at a height of 2,710 feet.

Around the world, people are experiencing inflation and interest rate hikes. But in wealthy, cash-loving Dubai, major projects like MOON are rocketing forward.

Like other eye-catching marvels, the MOON could fit into “the legitimacy formula of Dubai’s ruling elite,” says Christopher Davidson, a Middle East expert. He’s talking about how rich people in Dubai like to display their wealth by financing huge projects. (Read about other Dubai ventures in “Museum of the Future to Open.”)

“They . . . believe strongly in science and progress—and . . . a megaproject like this would seem to tick all of those boxes,” Davidson says.

Henderson’s MOON isn’t the only globe-shaped project on Earth. Another is the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Sphere, a $2.3 billion dome covered in LED screens. The MSG Sphere is set to open in Las Vegas later this year.

But Henderson’s structure goes a step further than the Vegas model. MOON would be fully round instead of flat-bottomed. It could be illuminated as a full, half, or crescent Moon.

However, MOON’s brightness may not be popular with future neighbors. In London, officials halted construction on an MSG Sphere. There Britons had strongly protested the major light pollution and commotion the structure would cause.

“It’s hard to please everybody,” Henderson acknowledges. “You might need dark curtains.”