China is planning to build a replica of Mars

It will be open to visitors and also used as a training facility

Updated: 

China is reportedly planning to spend more than $60 million building a simulated version of Mars in the northwestern corner of the country.

According to the South China Morning Post, the so-called 'Mars Village' is slated to cover more than 36,000 miles in the Qinghai Tibet plateau - an area which was chosen because it's rocky, arid landscape is similar to the terrain on Mars.

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The project, a collaboration between the local government and the Chinese Academy of Sciences is expected to be an educational, eco-tourist attraction.

One official said: "As China's only Mars science and recreation base, we hope it will focus on the scientific theme of space exploration."

One section will reportedly be developed as a training facility for Chinese astronauts while another is said to be geared towards visitors who want the experience of being on Mars.

While it's unknown when the village may be open to space enthusiasts, it's ambitions are reflective of China's real life space goals.

The government is reportedly hoping to launch a probe to Mars in the next two years.

Images from space by astronaut Andre Kuipers

Images from space by astronaut Andre Kuipers