China to build simulation of a Mars base as a cultural and tourist experience

A Mars base concept by Team Nest. Image: NASA.

A Mars base concept by Team Nest. Image: NASA.

China will be building a simulation Mars base in the Qaidam Basin, Qinghai province. The base will be established in northwest China, and will act as an educational experience of future settlements on the Red Planet. The location has been chosen because the landscape and the climatic conditions are similar to those that are found on Mars, according to a report by China News Service. The area is spread over 95,000 kilometers of desert, where the conditions and dry and the landscape has been eroded with wind.

The base is not meant to be a scientific testbed for prototyping technologies that will actually be used on Mars. Instead, it is an experimental bridge between space, astronomy, geology, meteorology and new energy. There are two planned functional areas for the Mars base, a “community” area and a “campsite” area. The base is being designed as a cultural and tourist experience which combines elements of science, science fiction, nature, ecology and culture.

This will be the first base of its kind in China. In late 2016, a demonstration of what the home of a single Martian pioneer could look like went on display in a simulated Martian environment in the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, London. The home had a bed, a computer, an area to grow plants and facilities for exercises. The Martian home was built as part of a National Geographic series on a pioneering manned mission to the Red Planet. The series was called MARS.

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