China is looking to step up its space game by building its first Mars simulation base out in the dusty hinterlands of Qinghai province. To be located in an extremely remote region of the Tibetan plateau, the project will also become part of China’s immense tourism industry.
The focal point of the base will be the hyperarid Qaidam Basin where the surrounding landscape is composed mostly of desert-like ground, intermingled with mountains and grasslands, rivers and lakes. The result: a stunning “cornucopia” of geographic features which is appealing both because of its gorgeous appearance as well as its scientific significance.
95,000 square kilometers of the Qinghai Province has been affected by desertification, making much of the region relatively unappealing for habitation. However, the lack of vegetation and the barren, but striking, landscape does make it an excellent place to simulate life on the Mars.
Liu Xiaoqun, director of the General Office of the Lunar and Deep-Space Exploration at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told People’s Daily that China’s new “Mars Village” will act as an educational attraction for tourists. He also hopes it will help to “boost cultural industries” of the remote region.
Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the base’s two primary attractions: a “Mars community” and a “Mars camp.” At each of these locations, space-fiends can learn about a number of subjects, including: aerospace, astronomy, geography, geology, meteorology and new energy.
This new project will be the only “Mars-themed” attraction in China, cornering the market on wannabe space explorers and Matt Damon fans.
So for those of you who want to avoid the crowds at Shanghai Disneyland, why don’t you treat yourself to a day on the Red Planet?
By Emma Abrams
[Images via People’s Daily]
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