China Tests ‘Lunar Palace’ For Future Moon Mission

Posted: May 12 2017, 11:53pm CDT | by , Updated: May 13 2017, 5:28am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
China Tests ‘Lunar Palace’ for Future Moon Mission
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The cabin stimulates lunar-like environment and will help prepare astronauts for future missions to moon

Although China is not expecting to land its first astronauts on the moon for at least another decade, the country is already preparing for longer stays on the lunar surface.

On Wednesday, China has started to test out its training facility called Lunar Palace. As a part of the trial, Chinese postgraduate students are now moved into the laboratory. The first group – two men and two women – have entered the cabin for initial 60 days. They will be replaced by another group upon the completion of that period and will stay there for 200 days. The laboratory stimulates moon-like environment and will not be connected to the outside world in any way.

The aim is to see how astronauts will live in lunar surface and what they need to survive there for extended period. The 1,720-square-foot cabin will also be used for recycling food and water and even for growing plants and vegetables.

“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 of the Chinese Academy of Sciences told new agency Xinhua.

Lunar Palace, also called “Yuegong-1,” world's third bioregenerative life-support system and the first developed in China. It is the only such system that involves animals and microorganisms as well as plants and humans. The system consists of four bed cubicles, a common room, a bathroom, a waste-treatment room and a room for raising animals.

China is making some major strides in the field of space exploration. Although it was largely out of the game by the time America and Russia were dominating the space race in 1950s and 60s.

But now it’s catching up. China aims to send a rover on the far side of the moon next year, the first for any country and put a probe on Mars by 2020. Recently, China has launched its first unmanned cargo spacecraft, marking further progress in its goal of establishing a permanent space station by 2022. China and Europe are also discussing potential collaboration on building a human settlement on moon by 2030.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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