Blueprints have been revealed for a project to build a Mars village on a remote plateau in China‘s far northwest.
Scientists and government officials from Delingha in Qinghai province met to discuss the development of the Mars village scheme. They came up with an initial estimation that the plans will cost about 400 million yuan (US$61.1 million).
The Mars village base will cover 95,000 square kilometres. Delingha in Qinghai province will host the base. The Qaidam Basin specifically was chosen thanks to its barren, rocky landscape which resembles the geoglogical conditions found on Mars.
Director of lunar and deep space exploration at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Liu Xiaoqun, said that the project would combine tourism and scientific exploration – SCMP reports.
“People dream about migrating to Mars, so what we want to do is give people a high-end experience of what it would actually be like to live in outer space,” Liu said.
A space exploration camp will simulate living conditions on Mars for scientific research. Alongside this there will be a large Mars-themed tourist attraction which will be open to the general public.
There is no indication of when the development will open.
The project has been under discussion since November – when the government of Haixi prefecture in Qinghai granted permission for the Chinese Academy of Sciences to use its land.
The deputy mayor of Delingha, Zhang Biao, said that he hoped the project would provide a boost to the local economy.
“The construction of the simulated Mars base has important scientific and ecological significance,” he said. “It not only allows people to learn more about Mars and space exploration, but will also benefit economic development in the area.”
Other countries have set up bases that simulate life on Mars or the journey to the planet – including the USA and Russia.
In 2016 Florida’s Kennedy Space Center allowed visitors to explore the red planet in a virtual reality experience.
Image: The Martian – YouTube/20th Century Fox