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A small step for China: Mars base for teens opens in desert

AFP  |  Jinchang 

A base simulator sits in the middle of nowhere in China's Gobi desert, but instead of housing astronauts training to live on the Red Planet, the facility is full of teenagers.

Surrounded by barren hills in northwest province, "Base 1" opened to the public on Wednesday with the aim of exposing teens -- and soon tourists -- to what life could be like on the planet.

The facility's unveiling comes as is making progress in its efforts to catch up to the and become a space power, with ambitions of sending humans to the moon someday.

The white-coloured base has a silver dome and nine modules, including living quarters, a control room, a greenhouse and an airlock.

The teenagers don spacesuits and go on treks in the desert, where they can explore caves in the martian-like landscape. The closest town is Jinchang, some 40 kilometres away.

The company behind the project, C-Space, plans to open the base -- currently an educational facility -- to tourists in the next year.

C-Space had help from the and the Intercontinental Communication Centre, a state television production organisation, in its quest to create a realistic

While teenagers pretend to be on Mars, China is planning to send a probe to the real Red Planet next year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 17 2019. 14:30 IST