China "replicates" Mars at Tibet site for astronauts and tourists

China is spending 400million-yuan ($61.6 million) on the site, which spans 59,000 square miles and is located in the Qinghai province, a northern area of Tibet that is close to the westernmost tip of the Great Wall.
By Josh Curlee | Sep 11, 2017
China rolled out plans to build a "simulated Mars station" atop a red-rock landscape in Tibet. Tourists and astronomers alike might visit this site to get a feel for what visiting Mars would be like, said Chinese state news agency Xinhua, which described the site as "the most Martian place on Earth."
China is spending 400million-yuan ($61.6 million) on the site, which spans 59,000 square miles and is located in the Qinghai province, a northern area of Tibet that is close to the westernmost tip of the Great Wall. An airplane leaving Beijing's international airport would reach it in a little more than seven hours.
The site will hold a training ground for Chinese astronauts. But another area will be built up for tourists and will feature a Mars-themed amusement park, a "Mars campside" where visitors can stay in simulated Mars-habitation modules, artificial weightlessness chambers where they can experience zero-gravity, and trails for hiking amid the site's red rocks while imagining it is Martian terrain.
"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," said Liu Xiaoqun, a space exploration expert from the Chinese Academy of Sciences who is leading the project.
The site won't be a perfect replica of Mars, of course. The real red planet has temperatures low enough to freeze carbon dioxide and a thin atmosphere that contains only 0.2% oxygen and doesn't protect against scorching radiation from deep space.

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