The fake Mars base will comprise of a “Mars community,” and a “Mars campsite,” and will be turned into a cultural and tourist experience base for education about space and astronomy, Mars themed-tourism, scientific research, and film shooting.
The base will be constructed in the red cliff region in Da Qaidam district, in the Mongolian-Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Haixi. The location was chosen for its Mars-like landform and landscape, according to officials.
A deal was signed between the government of Haixi and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in November 2016 to build the base, and the two parties have been discussing locations since.
This is certainly not China’s first space-based venture. In May, China took a step towards building a Moon base, as four students moved into a cabin which would simulate life on a lunar base. The cabin, named Lunar Palace, aimed to discover how a space mission could be completely self-reliant over a long period of time. The first set of students were there for 60 days, and the next group were set to stay for 200 days.
The moon station boasted a living cabin, a common room, a waste treatment room, a room for animals, and a bathroom. Crops and vegetables were expected to be grown with the help of food and waste by-products.
In June, the Chongqing Morning Post reported China was to send a small ecosystem on its next lunar landing mission in an attempt to see if potatoes can grown on the surface of the moon. The mission is planned for 2018 and will also involve sending silkworm eggs inside the ecosystem.