China Opens its First Mars Simulation Base – Futurism
What happened: Under construction since June, China’s first Mars simulation base has opened to adventurous tourists interested in experiencing one of Earth’s closest approximations to the Martian environment, an article in Futurism reported citing Chinese publication the Global Times. Located in Mangnai, Qinghai province, the base is part tourist attraction, part research facility and features a “Mars community” and “Mars camp” for educating the public about the challenges humans might face while living on the Red Planet.
Why it’s important: With a $22.3 million price tag, the base offers proof that China has an interest in getting its citizens excited about space travel. It also comes on the heels of news that China plans to send a rover to Mars in 2020. As part of that announcement, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program said, “We hope all the youngsters in our country could devote themselves to this great cause.” Additional space projects include the successful landing of a rover on the far side of the moon and plans to build orbiting solar power stations.