Chinese volunteers spend 200 days on virtual 'moon base'

Four volunteers lived in the sealed lab to simulate a long-term space mission with no input from the outside world
Four volunteers lived in the sealed lab to simulate a long-term space mission with no input from the outside world

Chinese students spent 200 continuous days in a "lunar lab" in Beijing, state media said Friday, as the country prepares for its long-term goal of putting people on the moon.

Four students crammed into a 160-square-metre (1,720-square-foot) cabin called "Yuegong-1"—Lunar Palace—on the campus of Beihang University, testing the limits of humans' ability to live in a self-contained space, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The volunteers lived in the sealed lab to simulate a long-term space mission with no input from the outside world.

The experience tested them to the limit, the module's chief designer Liu Hong told Xinhua, especially on three occasions when the lab experienced unexpected blackouts.

The experience "challenged the system as well as the psychological status of the volunteers, but they withstood the test," Liu said.

The facility treats human waste with a bio-fermentation process, and volunteers grew experimental crops and vegetables with the help of food and waste byproducts.

Two men and two women entered for an initial stay of 60 days. They were then relieved by another group of four, who stayed 200 days.

The initial group will now return for an additional 105, Xinhua said.

The "Lunar Palace" has two plant cultivation modules and a living cabin: 42 square metres containing four sleeping cubicles, a common room, a bathroom, a waste-treatment room and a room for raising animals.

A successful 105-day trial was conducted in 2014.

China does not expect to land its first astronauts on the moon for at least another decade, but the project seeks to help the country prepare lunar explorers for longer stays on the surface.

China is pouring billions into its military-run space programme and working to catch up with the United States and Europe, with hopes to have a crewed outpost by 2022.

Russia and the United States have also carried out experiments to simulate conditions for long-term travel and living on Mars.

Beijing sees the programme as symbolising the country's progress and a marker of its rising global stature, but so far China has largely replicated activities that the US and Soviet Union pioneered decades ago.

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China tests 'Lunar Palace' as it eyes moon mission

© 2018 AFP

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Jan 26, 2018
aka "Boarding school"

Jan 28, 2018
Why would you believe anything a communist country's completely controlled media puts out? Ask the Dali-lama himself why its not a good idea to do so.

Jan 28, 2018
Oh wait, you can't ask the Dalai Lama now why its not a good idea to trust China's completely controlled communist media in anything they put out because that was the 13th Dalai Lama who died recently. Dang... I didn't know he died already. That's really bad for all the Buddhists of the world because they've completely replaced who was supposed to legitimately become the 14th Dalai Lama since Tibetans did not trust communism, and the only way to get them to is to replace the, then current, Dalai lama, with a pro-communist Dalai lama which is now the new 14th Dalai lama.

Jan 29, 2018
good acheivement

Jan 30, 2018
nazra7, if I understand you correctly? When you exit the airlock into vacuum. You intend to disregard the communist advising you to put on a P-suit? Cause you ain't going to fall for any commie propaganda?

Keep holding your breath. You look cute all puffy and purpled face!

savvy84, in my opinion, at best barely interesting. This same experiment has been performed by different researchers and still produces very little data applicable to extra-terrestrial habitation.

The relevant data is collected from the submarine services and their experience in a truly inhospitable environment.

And then the two most basic necessities for E-T habitats? How do you duplicate zero-gravity? And sorry, no, immersion in water doesn't count. You are still in the Earth's one-gee attractor. No matter how buoyantly you bounce. And yes, it is good training for extra-vehicular work projects.

The second lack is volunteers for heavy-radiation bombardment as outside the Magnetosphere.

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