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China to build first Mars simulation base

China will establish its first Mars simulation base in Qinghai province, an official said on Tuesday.

The base will be in the red cliff region of Da Qaidam (also known as Dachaidan) district in the Mongolian-Tibetan prefecture, Xinhua news agency reported.

The region was chosen for its Mars-like landform, landscape and climate, according to Wang Jingzhai, the prefecture's deputy Party chief.

The Haixi government and the Chinese Academy of Sciences signed an agreement in November last year to build the base and have since begun discussing the project location.

The base, comprising a "Mars community" and a "Mars campsite", will be turned into China's first cultural and tourist experience base for space and astronomical education, Mars-themed tourism, scientific research and film shooting.