Mars Base 1 is a futuristic facility situated in a barren landscape of the Gobi Desert in China. It is in the midst of dunes and red soil and is an indication of the country’s eagerness to colonize Mars. The area is in the northern province of Gansu, and the aim of the base is to catch the children young and provide them an opportunity to experience what life could be like on the distant planet. Beijing wants to take the lead in establishing the first extraterrestrial colony and it is investing billions into its space program. It wants to overtake the United States and others in this race for supremacy.

New Zealand Herald reports Mars Base 1 sports a silver dome and nine modules. These consist of living quarters apart from a control room, a greenhouse and an airlock. Visitors can undertake treks in the desert and explore caves in the landscape that bears a resemblance to Mars. The first visitors were 100 students from a high school. They wore tracksuits that looked like spacesuits.

It will be a tourist attraction

The project has started as an educational facility but will spread its wings and open its doors to tourists next year.

C-Space is the company promoting this and it says there will be a themed hotel and restaurant to make it attractive for visitors. It expects to attract two million visitors annually by 2030 and become a major Travel destination. Bai Fan, the founder of C-Space, saysm “The base is still on Earth, it's not on Mars, but we have chosen a landform that matches closest to Mars.”

New Zealand Herald adds that China has made advances in space research and conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003.

That way it became only the third country to do so after Russia and the US. It is the first country to land a rover on the far side of the Moon and "opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration." Its lunar plans include setting up a manned space station on the lunar surface. Robots equipped with artificial intelligence will control it until such time humans take over.

China has already sent a couple of space stations into orbit and plans to launch a Mars rover by the middle of the next decade. When Xi Jinping took over as president in 2013, he said "the space dream" would strengthen the country and its activities are adding to its confidence level.

China defines its future

According to First Post, the "Mars Base 1" is located in the middle of China's Gobi desert and surrounded by barren hills in northwestern Gansu province. It is a part of the country’s greater plan to keep pace with the United States and become a space power. Beijing has invested nearly $7.47 million to construct the base and is pouring billions into its military-run space program. Its aim is to have a crewed space station by 2022.