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翻译的时候,想到David Bowie的“Space Oddity”


Ground Control to Major Tom

Ground Control to Major Tom

Commencing countdown, engines on

Check ignition and may God’s love be with you







策划:倪凌晖 &刘璠

Space-themed tourism is taking off in China

太空主题游 —— 国人出游新选择

The red planet is far away, but the Gobi desert isn’t


Mealworms wriggle on a shelf in the botanical module of Mars Base 1, a simulated Martian habitat on the edge of the Gobi desert in western China. Guo Jiayu, a guide, tells a group of wide-eyed schoolchildren that, mashed up, such larvae could be part of the diet of astronauts should they reach the red planet. Elsewhere in the complex, neon-lit corridors lead to sleeping compartments and a control centre. Through an airlock lined with spacesuits awaits a rover, ready for exploring the rocky expanse outside.

在中国西部戈壁沙漠边缘的模拟火星生存基地 —— 火星1号基地的植物舱里,黄粉虫幼体在架子上蠕动着。向导郭嘉玉(音)告诉一群瞪圆了双眼的小学生,宇航员要是到了火星,就可以把这类幼虫捣烂作为食物。在基地的另一处,亮着霓光灯的走廊分别通向休息室和控制中心。穿过摆满太空服的气闸舱,一辆火星车早已就位,静待着开启探索舱外崎岖“地表”的别样旅程。

The small installation is near Jinchang, a nickel-mining city in the western province of Gansu. It was built last year at a cost of around 50m yuan ($7.5m) by Bai Fan, a garrulous British-educated entrepreneur with the backing of private investors. For now Mr Bai is mainly using the base to teach students about travel to Mars. Eventually he hopes the facility will become the centrepiece of a resort. His company has secured the right to develop 67 square kilometres of the surrounding desert—an area bigger than Manhattan. The base has already hosted a reality television show, in which six celebrities pretended to be astronauts facing life-threatening challenges.




Businesspeople across China see money-making possibilities in the country’s quest for space-faring achievement. In January China became the first country to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. It aims to send another one to the lunar surface this year to collect samples and bring them back to Earth (the last country to do this was the Soviet Union in 1976). Next year China wants to launch the main section of a new Earth-orbiting space station and send a rover to Mars.



There is clearly much public excitement. The number of people searching online for space-related museums, attractions and tours increased by 60% in 2018, reckons Ctrip, a Chinese travel agent. In March another Mars-themed attraction—a tourist camp accommodating up to 160 people—opened on the Tibetan plateau. Publishers are producing five times as many science-fiction titles as they were in 2011, says Sixth Tone, a Chinese news site.

公众对此显然兴奋不已。据中国携程旅行网估算,2018年在网上搜索太空主题相关的博物馆、景点和旅行的人数上升了60%。今年三月,另一个火星主题的好去处 —— 最多可容纳160人的“火星营地”在青藏高原开营。不仅如此,据中国新闻网站“第六声”报道,各出版社如今发行的科幻小说数量是2011年的五倍。

In the southernmost province of Hainan, officials are hoping to cash in on a space-launch site that became operational there in 2016. Previously, such facilities were built in remote areas deep inland. The new facility is much more accessible to tourists. Its launches can be watched from a nearby sandy beach. For now, however, a more popular attraction is the world’s largest radio telescope, fast, in a remote basin of another southern province, Guizhou. The instrument, which has a diameter of 500 metres, also opened in 2016. In the first half of last year alone, more than 5m visitors travelled to see it. Few of them got inside the facility itself: only 2,000 people are admitted daily. But nearby towns are littered with chintzy attractions.


Officials in Guizhou worry that the tourism boom might interfere with the telescope’s function. They are scaling back development plans in the area. But the Communist Party sees benefits in all this attention to space. It is generating patriotic fervour as well as enthusiasm for space science. An excited 13-year-old touring Mars Base 1 says she hopes to visit the planet itself one day. Americans were the first people to set foot on the moon, she says. Why shouldn’t the first on Mars be Chinese?



  • 本文原载于 TheEconomist

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