Thu, Apr 18, 2019 - Page 6 News List

‘Mars base’ for teenagers opens in China’s Gobi Desert

AFP, JINCHANG, China

Students walk past a model of a lander at “Mars Base 1,” a project by the company C-Space, in the Gobi Desert about 40km from Jinchang, China, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

A Mars base simulator sits in the middle of nowhere in China’s Gobi Desert, but instead of housing astronauts training to live on the Red Planet, the facility is full of teenagers.

Surrounded by barren hills in northwest Gansu Province, “Mars Base 1” opened to the public yesterday with the aim of exposing teens — and soon tourists — to what life could be like on the planet.

The unveiling comes as China is making progress in its efforts to catch up to the US and become a space power, with ambitions of sending humans to the moon some day.

The white-colored base has a silver dome and nine modules, including living quarters, a control room, a greenhouse and an airlock.

The teenagers don spacesuits and go on treks in the desert, where they can explore caves in the martian-like landscape.

The closest town is Jinchang, about 40km away.

The company behind the project, C-Space, plans to open the base — currently an educational facility — to tourists in the next year.

C-Space had help from the Astronauts Center of China and the China Intercontinental Communication Center, a state television production organization, in its quest to create a realistic environment.

While teenagers pretend to be on Mars, China is planning to send a probe to the real Red Planet next year.

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