As the first simulation base opens to the public, models of the planets are on display at a recent science exhibition in Wuhan city, central China's Hubei province. Photo: AFP

China’s first Mars simulation base has opened to tourists, researchers, and the media in Mangya city, Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan autonomous prefecture in northwest China’s Qinghai province, People’s Daily reported.

The red rock area, located in the Qaidam Basin in Qinghai, has natural features, landscape and a climate similar to those seen on Mars. The camp is named for its unique Yadan landforms, or dry areas with wind eroded landscapes.

The camp can accommodate 60 people in its capsules and hundreds in tents at its base. Construction started in June 2018 at a total cost of about 150 million yuan ($22.3 million).

Zhou Tao, head of the education and science and technology bureau of Mangya city, said multiple Mars observation projects will be established at the site, including the Stellar Observations Network Group by the National Astronomical Observatories of China and the 50cm Binocular Network of China West Normal University.

An award has also been set up to solicit and praise outstanding literature works related to the base. Radio stations, books and films will also feature the Mars simulation base.

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