Will this publication pressure everyone
to scramble and put up their own bio-support system? I have a feeling it will! The case
of monkey see monkey do never fails.
I doubt there'll be any chance in hell that we (China) will be
given the benefit of the credit to be the first to establish a base there. Therefore, I bet we will
be seeing some competion, soon in this field mighty fast at that...
Story as follow:
Mock lunar base experiment in China a success
The interior of the Lunar Palace 1, May 20. (Photo/Xinhua)
China is a step closer to setting up a lunar base after a 105-day manned airtight test, in which the bio-regenerative life support systems of Lunar Palace 1 sustained the lives of three trial volunteers.
The three "moon dwellers" drank recycled purified water, ate worms and food they grew themselves, conducted experiments, and chatted with their family on the internet in the enclosed capsule from February 3 to May 20.
The full title of the project is Integrative Experimental Facility Lunar Palace 1 for Permanent Astrobase Life-support Artificial Closed Ecosystem Research.
Lunar Palace 1 is comprised of a 58-square-meter vegetation cabin and a 42-square-meter living cabin with three bedrooms, a dining room, a bathroom, and a waste disposal room.
Scientists selected food that could provide enough nutrition for the three volunteers, who were all under 35, including wheat, soybeans and peanuts, 15 vegetables, including carrots, cucumbers, and water spinach; and the only fruit, strawberries.
The oxygen system in the capsule enabled the regeneration of oxygen three times over the 105 days.
Fifty-five percent of the food for the three volunteers was generated inside the bio-system, while the rest, mostly meat, was produced externally.
The capsule inhabitants also raised and ate yellow mealworms, their main source of protein.
The debut of these worms at the IAA Humans in Space Symposium in 2011 shocked peers from the US, but some said they tasted like French fries after they tried them.
Lunar Palace 1 is different from Biosphere 2, an Earth systems science research facility in the US, says chief designer and lead scientist Liu Hong, a professor with Beihang University.
"Biosphere 2 is a duplication of the living environment on Earth, which is a failure we did not want to repeat," says Liu.
"The system we made was directed towards the needs of humans. We carefully chose what plants, animals, and micro-organisms would be best included in the ecosystem."
Although the US, Russia, and some European countries have been working on similar technology, they've conducted no large-scale system experiments in recent years.
"Many foreign experts think building a space base cannot be achieved in the near future, so they do not put many resources into research in this field," says Liu.
The length of time needed to understand the complexity of an eco-system is why scientists should start experimenting now, she added.
Lunar Palace 1 does not perfectly mirror the environment on the moon, however.
The low gravity and high radiation are not factored into the capsule; and scientists do not know how these would affect the ecosystem.
Liu says it is necessary to build two mini Lunar Palace 1 systems–a monitoring station on the moon and one on earth–so the two sets of data can be compared
"The system can only mature when it is run for a long time," Liu said, adding that it is only then that China can be confident of using it in space.
Also, deep space by 2020?
Scientist says China will explore deep space as early as 2020
How deep, I wonder?
And, food for
thought: 2020 is only 5 and a half years off,
so are they serious?