No Earthly force has successfully brought mankind to the planet Mars yet–but with many of its competitors languishing in development hell with budget cuts, China is hoping to win the space race. One of the latest endeavors in achieving their victory is a new faux-Mars base, substituting the extraterrestial Mars with the equally red and barren Gobi desert.
With its main hub located beneath a shimmering silver dome. Mars Base 1 is designed to offer visitors a glimpse of the lifestyle they could expect on Mars. It has all the necessary amenities, including a greenhouse, living space, an airlock, and a control center. Guests can try on space attire (really just redesigned track suits) and explore the surrounding caves, cliffs, and rocky terrain.
The ambitious project is estimated to have cost the team roughly 50 million Yuan or $7.45 million dollars.
C-Space, the company behind the project, has lofty goals on Earth. Bai Fan, C-Space’s founder declared, “The base is still on earth, it’s not on Mars, but we have chosen a landform that matches closest to Mars.”
Currently, the faux space base is only letting tour groups of school kids visit for field trips. By 2030, it hopes to offer a full resort experience with a hotel and theme restaurant onsite.
It’s worth mentioning that the nearby Qaidam Basin of neighbouring Qinghai is known for having conditions most similar to Mars on Earth, and that a separate group set up their own tourism experience there.
Professor Jiao Weixin of Peking University sees the whole thing as a big waste of time and money, stating ““From the very beginning, I’ve been opposed to this. Tourism doesn’t make much sense … what is the meaning in it?”
After all, even on the coldest nights, conditions at neither the Gobi nor the Qaidam region could truly compare to the extremely inhospitable environment on Mars. 1.52 times the distance of Earth from the Sun, Mars receives only 43% of the sunlight that Earth does. It’s coldest temperatures can reach below -225 °F. The low pressure atmosphere and rampant dust storms would make it deadly to people without a space suit or safe haven.
Of course, that sort of experience isn’t fun for the whole family!
Via The Telegraph
Photos by Wang Zhao AFP