The Chinese C-Space Project recently unveiled its $61 million Mars Base in the Gobi Desert, leaving many curious about its objectives. The C-Space Project, where the C stands for Community, Culture and Creativity, is an education facility for Chinese teenagers, that will teach them about space exploration and living on Mars.

The Mars Base allows visitors to understand what it is like to live in closed quarters where every aspect of daily life must be controlled in an environment very limited resources. By all accounts, it will be an eye-opening experience for anyone wanting to know what Earth might be like one day if we continue to over-consume our natural resources. Water needs to be salvaged and recycled down to the last drop. Food sustenance needs to contain high protein to keep the base’s occupants fed and in good shape. If you want to take a walk outside you’ll need to don a space suit and exit through a pressurizing cabin. 

The base occupies a massive 11,996 square feet in the Gobi Desert, a location meant to re-create as closely as possible the current state of the distant planet – thanks to its harsh climate and sandstorms. Situated 40km from the small town Jinchang, in the Gansu Province, the Mars Base not only simulates the outside living conditions that Mars explorers would one day have to face, but also the inside living environment. It consists of nine capsules, that includes a control room, recycling unit, airlock room, storage, a bio-module, medical facilities, living quarters, bathroom and an entertainment & fitness room.

To bring this project to life, the ACC (Astronauts Center of China) and CICC (China Intercontinental Communication Center) were heavily involved in delivering state of the art technology and knowledge to make it as realistic as possible. A TV Reality show was allowed access and six volunteers, which included five Chinese celebrities, were the first to experience “life on Mars” after receiving some basic astronaut training. 

The show has had a huge impact on its audience since airing and fulfilled the expectations of the project’s initiators, who aim to bring awareness of China’s tremendous development in aerospace to the general public.

In preparation for future missions to Mars the originators want to make space a more attractive subject to the general public, inspire people about what’s possible and encourage exploration. The base will become China’s first cultural and tourist experience around space education, Mars-themed tourism and scientific research.