Jun 19, 2019 | Updated: 05:32 PM EDT

China Opens Mars Simulation Camp for Tourism and Research

Mar 06, 2019 09:16 AM EST

China Opens Mars Simulation Camp for Tourism and Research
(Photo : Jake Young)

In search of answers and the possibility of living on Mars, China has recently built a Mars simulation base. This project is initially eyed as a tourist destination, however since the setting has certain crucial similarities, it has been said to possibly aid the research for living on the Red Planet itself. The simulation base is located in Mang'ai, China where there are mounds of rock formations and sharp ridges. With its landscape and climate similar to that of Mars', the city is easily dubbed as one of the closest and most Mars-like places on Earth.

In June 2018, construction of the 53,330 square meter Mars simulation base began and was completed with a total budget of around $22.3 Million. The simulation base started to operate recently, eight months after it started construction. The project can both be for used entertainment and for research purposes. With facilities such as a "Mars Camp" and a "Mars Community", entertaining tourists and educating the public are possible. The city is also welcoming scientific research, movie filming, and training simulations in the camp.

Project founder Gao Junling has also lobbied the concept of immersion in the simulation camp where the visitors will be able to experience different lifestyle activities in an environment such as the Red Planet's. Some activities that the simulation camp's guests will be experiencing is power generation through solar resources and planting potatoes for food supply. Of course, planting potatoes on Mars has a different setting than that on Earth.

The big difference, other than location, is that the real planet Mars has stronger radiation, regular sandstorms, and low air pressure as pointed out by Jiao Weixin, a space science professor from Peking University. Overall, it would be a great advantage if this simulation base can be considered or certified amenable for research while catering to tourism and the public. It has always been the interest of science practitioners to get the younger generation not only educated but also excited about the future of humanity in the outer space.

There have been other projects that were utilized for research in simulating life on Mars. One, a mock-up of the Red Planet's habitat, is in Hawaii in 2015 and another in Moscow in 2010 which is a 520-day travel simulation in a mock spaceship. Unlike China's Mars simulation camp which is open to tourists and the public, these other two projects were dedicated solely to scientific research.

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