Plans for the next big Las Vegas attraction, Mars World, have recently been released. Unlike many Vegas attractions, though, the project is not just some small tourist trap. Rather, it is a $2 billion futuristic enterprise headed by a powerful group of huge-name scientists and businesspeople that will be a huge step forward in terms of bringing outer space culture to Earth when it is finished in 2021.
The Las Vegas project leaders say that Mars World, which is essentially a next-gen Mars-themed theme park, will include stunning attractions such as “Marswalk,” a hike of sorts where guests will be able to experience walking in Mars-like gravity. Visitors will also be able to take a tram tour around the simulated city-colony built inside the domed park and even stay overnight in “rough habitats.”
John Spencer, the founder of the Space Tourism Society and leader of the Las Vegas Mars World project, elaborated on the futuristic significance of the park’s development.
“We’re really moving forward on this longstanding connection between science fiction and entertainment and real things. We developed an approach — we call this a design approach —that what we’re doing is not science fiction. It’s science future.”
Space tourism — the idea of people paying to take a guided tour of areas outside Earth’s atmosphere — has indeed been one of humanity’s largest ambitions for quite a while now, and Gizmodo notes that huge sums of money have been spent in the past on spaceports and other failed attempts to capitalize on the potential space tourism industry.
But unlike past space tourism attractions, which have been exorbitantly expensive, Las Vegas’ Mars World will be free to enter. That’s right, visitors will be able to walk the glass-sided halls of Mars World and view the barren, alien panoramas outside for no cost, according to Spencer.
Of course, he says, the park will take in money. This will be accomplished through merchandising and food and beverage sales. It is not yet clear whether the individual attractions within the park will cost money, but, knowing Las Vegas, it is a good bet that they will.
Similar to failed space tourism attempts in the past, though, Las Vegas’s Mars World will be quite expensive to turn into a reality. Space reports that the 66- to 85-acre tract of Las Vegas land, which is located somewhere between I-95 and the Las Vegas strip, will cost around $200 million, and the total cost of the park will fall nearer to $2 billion.
The Las Vegas developers are trying to raise the funds for Mars World and have only reached $500,000, but radio network Coast to Coast says they are optimistic fundraising will increase exponentially in the coming months because of “Las Vegas’ thriving tourist economy, the unique nature of the attraction, and the public’s fascination with Mars.”
And Mars World is not just for kids, either. Spencer makes it clear that, although some of the park will be directed towards children and families, much of it will be more mature in order to cater to Las Vegas’s huge 21-and-over tourist crowd.
In fact, says Spencer, he hopes to capture the attention — and dollars — of the free-spirited demographic that already attends Nevada’s infamously X-rated Burning Man festival, which is just about 500 miles from Las Vegas.
“They’re pretty rowdy, independent, artistic. Don’t agree with authority too much,” said Spencer of the Burning Man attendees.
“At Burning Man, clothing is optional. If you take that as a foundation and extend that out further in the controlled environment, then we have amazing characters, artwork and costumes.”
If Spencer’s “clothing is optional” comment is an indicator of what we will be seeing at Las Vegas’s Mars World, it will make for a very interesting day trip when it is finished in a few years.
View some more amazing drawings of Las Vegas’s Mars World plans at Techno Buffalo.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]