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16 Out Of This World Pictures From An Actual Mars Training Facility

Located in the arid isolation of the Gobi Desert, the C-Space Project Mars simulation base offers visitors a taste of what it's like to travel to the red planet.

Posted on April 24, 2019, at 10:18 a.m. ET

Dust clouds shroud the C-Space Project Mars simulation base as a staff member poses in a mock space suit.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

Dust clouds shroud the C-Space Project Mars simulation base as a staff member poses in a mock space suit.

For a handful of students in Jinchang, China, the cosmos are closer than you'd expect.

Located in the windswept desolation of the Gobi Desert, the C-Space Project Mars simulation base is one of the first of its kind — a compound designed to accurately replicate the conditions of a crewed mission to Mars. And in one of China's most impoverished regions, the facility may also break new ground as a lucrative tourism industry sets its eyes on the stars.

It's here that regional students can experience firsthand the future of space travel. The compound is complete with mock decompression chambers, space suits, living modules, greenhouses, and even a replica of the black monolith featured in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In an interview with Reuters, Bai Fan, CEO of the Jinchang Star Universe Culture & Tourism Investment Co., the media company that codeveloped the base, said, “A nation needs people who look up at the stars [...] we hope the bases will let them feel the spirit of space exploration, and not just experience the technology behind it.”

Students are not only ones who will benefit from the C-Space Project Mars simulation base — according to Reuters, the Astronauts Center of China will eventually use the facility as an astronaut-training center for an actual journey to the red planet.

Students leave a mock space capsule after a lesson at the C-Space Project Mars simulation base, April 17.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

Students leave a mock space capsule after a lesson at the C-Space Project Mars simulation base, April 17.

The interior of a mock space capsule.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

The interior of a mock space capsule.

An electric 4WD vehicle, designed to represent a vehicle used for an imagined Mars exploration, drives near the C-Space Project Mars simulation base.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

An electric 4WD vehicle, designed to represent a vehicle used for an imagined Mars exploration, drives near the C-Space Project Mars simulation base.

A staff member demonstrates how she puts on a mock space suit helmet.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

A staff member demonstrates how she puts on a mock space suit helmet.

A staff member wearing a mock space suit steps out of the C-Space Project Mars simulation base.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

A staff member wearing a mock space suit steps out of the C-Space Project Mars simulation base.

Sleeping capsules at the C-Space Project Mars simulation base.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

Sleeping capsules at the C-Space Project Mars simulation base.

Fake vegetables are displayed inside the mock laboratory.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

Fake vegetables are displayed inside the mock laboratory.

A mock laboratory inside the C-Space Project Mars simulation base.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

A mock laboratory inside the C-Space Project Mars simulation base.

A staff member wearing a mock space suit poses in the Gobi Desert near the C-Space Project Mars simulation base outside Jinchang, Gansu Province, China, April 18, 2019.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

A staff member wearing a mock space suit poses in the Gobi Desert near the C-Space Project Mars simulation base outside Jinchang, Gansu Province, China, April 18, 2019.

Students walk through Gobi Desert near the C-Space Project Mars simulation base.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

Students walk through Gobi Desert near the C-Space Project Mars simulation base.

Students listen to a lesson at a mock space capsule.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

Students listen to a lesson at a mock space capsule.

Students gather around a replica of the monolith from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

Students gather around a replica of the monolith from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

A student launches a toy rocket in the Gobi Desert.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

A student launches a toy rocket in the Gobi Desert.

A staff member poses in a mock space suit.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

A staff member poses in a mock space suit.

A staff member wears a mock space suit in the Gobi Desert.
Thomas Peter / Reuters

A staff member wears a mock space suit in the Gobi Desert.

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