Mars sim­u­la­tor to be built

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CHINA DAILY

China’s first Mars sim­u­la­tion base will be built in Qing­hai prov­ince, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by China News Ser­vice on Wed­nes­day.

A sym­po­sium on the over­all de­sign of the base and a con­tract sign­ing cer­e­mony were held on Tues­day, the re­port said.

The base will be built in Qaidam Basin in the Dachaidan Hongya re­gion of the Haixi Mon­go­lian and Ti­betan au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture, a re­mote area of the Qing­haiTi­bet Plateau. The area’s land­forms, nat­u­ral land­scape and cli­mate con­di­tions closely re­sem­ble those of Mars, said Wang Jingzhai, the pre­fec­ture’s deputy Party chief.

Com­pris­ing more than 95,000 square kilo­me­ters of desert, the area has China’s largest Yadan land­form, or dry ar­eas with wind ero­sion. It also has other land­forms, in­clud­ing moun­tains, prairie, the Gobi Desert, rivers and lakes.

Ad­ja­cent to many tourist at­trac­tions in the Hexi Cor­ri­dor, lo­cated along the an­cient Silk Road in Gansu prov­ince, the Mars sim­u­la­tion base will be turned into a cul­tural and tourist ex­pe­ri­ence base that com­bines el­e­ments of science, science fic­tion, na­ture, ecol­ogy and cul­ture, said Liu Xiao­qun, di­rec­tor of the gen­eral de­part­ment of lu­nar and deep space ex­plo­ration at the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences.

The base will have two func­tional ar­eas — a “Mars com­mu­nity” and a “Mars camp­site” — which will be con­nected by road but will be in­vis­i­ble to each other, Liu said.

As the only one of its kind in China, the base will be built into a prac­ti­cal science ed­u­ca­tion base that over­laps the fields of space, as­tron­omy, ge­ol­ogy, me­te­o­rol­ogy and new en­ergy, Liu said, adding that the project “will be a high­light for the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of lo­cal tourism and cul­tural in­dus­tries”.

China also plans to con­duct at least one as­ter­oid ex­plo­ration mis­sion be­fore 2025.

YANG ZONGYOU / XIN­HUA

Con­tes­tants from the en­gi­neer­ing sur­vey and de­sign in­dus­try per­form soil com­paction tests in Kun­ming, Yun­nan prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day. About 150 tech­ni­cians are at­tend­ing the two-day skills com­pe­ti­tion in the city.

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