China Moon Mission: 8 Postgraduate Students Move Into Lunar Palace Cabin That Simulates Lunar-Like Environment
Tech Times reported in February that China has increased its budget for its planned space programs and that the country is already designing an advanced and recoverable spacecraft that will be capable of landing on the moon.
Now China has already begun preparations for its planned lunar laboratory in collaboration with the European Space Agency by locking in eight volunteers to live and work in a simulated space environment inside the Lunar Palace 1.
Lunar Palace 1 Structure
Lunar Palace 1 or Yuegong-1 consists of a living area measuring 42 square meters and two greenhouses measuring 50 to 60 square meters. The living area has a common room and washroom, four bed cubicles, a waste treatment room, and animal-raising room.
For this experiment, scientists will study how Yuegong-1's Bioregenerative Life Support System (BLSS) — a system made up of plants, animals, and microorganisms that coexist — would work in a mission that mimics the moon's environment.
Space Simulation Goal
The space simulation will take place in the Yuegong-1 cabin, a space cabin built in Beijing University for Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA) specifically for that purpose. Codenamed "Yuegong-365," the experiment involves eight volunteers split into two groups of four people — two males and two females each — who will test the stability of Lunar Palace 1's BLSS.
"The BLSS is absolutely crucial to probes to the moon and to Mars. The latest test is vital to the future of China's moon and Mars missions and must be relied upon to guarantee the safety and health of our astronauts," Liu Zhiheng from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said.
The simulation is divided into three parts and requires the two groups of volunteers to stay inside Yuegong-1 cabin for a period consisting of 60, 200, and 105 days. According to CAS, the mission's purpose is to study how stable the BLSS would be when astronauts with different metabolic rates are onboard for long-term missions. It will also test how the astronauts would react and face sudden situations while in the cabin.
The first group stepped into the Lunar Palace 1 on May 10 and will stay there for 60 days before trading posts with the second group, who will remain in the cabin for 200 days. After which, the first group will once again take over the mission for its remaining days.
All the volunteers for Yuegong-365 are civilian postgraduate students from Beihang University.