China want to conquer Mars after making history by being the first to land on the hidden side of the Moon. And who knows if the first Chinese to step on the red planet have gone through a simulated base like the one inaugurated in full Gobi Desert, in the north of the country.
Located about forty kilometers from the mining town of Jinchang, "Mars Base 1" is a project of the company C-Space which has the support of local authorities and the city's Astronaut Center. China, and its more than 1,000 square meters are divided into nine compartments.
In addition to the bedroom capsules, a small doctor's office, toilets, and a myriad of data-filled screens, there is also a nursery with artificial light in which wheat, leek or lettuce are planted – and worms are bred for those who like a bite more exotic. and protein suits, and obviously astronauts.
Those who have wagered on this particular surface – which, although not a Martian one – have a reddish hue – can find other elements of the simulated Mars conquest, such as the space module, exploration astromobos, a cave refuge, and even a monolith black film suspiciously similar to that of the 2001 movie: A Space Odyssey.
But beyond the screens futuristic and neon lights that make it look like a Star Trek scenario, base managers also seek to return visitors "to their origins" and learn to appreciate the importance of the basics after being forced to take care of the fullest of available resources.
-Based at the base Lu Yueyao, a 13-year-old student who visited the premises, is delighted: "I was already curious about Mars and other phenomena of space, such as black holes. I feel more like going now Mars"
And perhaps it is someone of your age and nationality who becomes the first person to step on the red planet in the future, or at least Lu is convinced of this: "China has a great advantage because we had so many excellent astronauts. space race in the future, "he says.
His partner Li Yaqin also shows the same enthusiasm: "I learned a lot today, but there are still many mysteries we can not explain. I want to solve these problems in the future."
"It's not just futuristic, it's also about what it means to be human and back to our origins," explains Zhao Tianshu, director of C-Space's educational program.
And it is that "space tourism" has a boost in China, a country that has turned its cosmic exploration program, especially since the success of Chang & # 39; and 4, the Chinese probe that on January 3 reached the Hidden Face of the Moon.
-Set for the cinema-
C-Space creator Bai Fan does not want to be left behind and says his plan is to create a kind of holiday Martian city with hotels and bars, and he hopes to start construction next year. His goal is for the base to be profitable "as fast as possible", although he acknowledges that "it will not be 8 or 10 years, but not one or two." I wanted it to be that way. "
For now, Bai will have to keep his feet on the Earth and be satisfied with educational camps – ranging from the age of elementary school students to college students – day visits or stays of three to seven days in the six outward-looking "capsules" offered by the base; the type of customer you most want to focus on.
The director believes it is these longer visits that allow you to "feel the full experience" of living surrounded by a hostile environment with extreme weather conditions, with limited water and food "to make people think that if the Earth is not there one day and they have to build a base on Mars, not just about technology, but how to survive. "
The base was also designed so that filmmakers could film science fiction movies and have been baptized before the cameras: after its construction, a group of Chinese celebrities locked themselves in it to record a reality show in the style of Big Brother, but still more "Marciano", titled Space Challenge.
The goal of C-Space, among others, is to attract students to "inspire" them and pursue their dreams. But although their faces are one of happiness and interest after the visit, not everyone leaves wanting to be astronauts.
Dou Zihang, aged fourteen, seems to want to remind the interviewer that after all, they are still children: "I think it would be difficult to be an astronaut, they have to exercise every day and this is difficult. creatures into space and create extraterrestrials like ET "