The Chinese government has just begun a project that could totally change the future of the space race.
China is making a very, very big move toward space that could shake up the future of that frontier, and they’re doing it right here on Earth. Four university students in Beijing have started an isolation simulation experiment that will last for 200 days called Lunar Palace 365, and during that grueling challenge they’ll figure out how to live only on resources they could take to the moon or Mars.
That will be quite difficult to achieve, as they’ll need to learn how to grow plants so that they’ll have oxygen to breathe, and they’ll have to figure out how to recycle urine so that they can have drinking water. The other test is psychological, and the students will have daily tasks to keep them from going stir crazy will couped up in a tiny space away from friends and family for more than half a year.
It’s a huge step for China, which is hoping to catch up to U.S. and Russian space programs and make its own claim as being a leader in the race to explore space. If China is successful, it could be part of discussions to explore the solar system alongside its biggest rivals.
“The Lunar Palace 365 experiment was launched by Beihang’s Lunar Palace research team in Lunar Palace 1, a simulated space cabin for bio-regenerative life-support systems experiments, on May 10th, 2017,” Beihang University said in a statement. “The 365-day experiment is aimed at testing the reliability of the Bioregenerative Life Support System (BLSS) when it works in a moon-environment with crews of different metabolic rates and sudden breakdowns.
“Eight volunteers, all postgraduates of Beihang, are divided into two teams taking turns to live in the cabin and will conduct the experiment in three shifts. As the longest one of its kind in the world, it will help develop the technologies necessary for the guarantee of astronauts’security and life quality in medium and long-term deep space explorations.”