China plans to put people on the surface of the moon for extended periods within next two decades as Beijing advances its space programme. President Xi Jinping has called for China to become a global power in space exploration, with plans to send a probe to the dark side of the moon by 2018 and put astronauts there by 2036.
Chinese volunteers will live in a simulated space cabin “Yuegong-1” for up to 200 days to experience life on moon. “While it remains unclear exactly how long China’s first lunar explorers will spend on the surface, the country is already planning for longer stays”, reports said.
The volunteers, all civilians and elite postgraduate students from Beihang University, are divided into two groups. The first four stepped into Yuegong-1 on Wednesday. The two men and two women will stay in the cabin for 60 days, then be replaced by the second group, also two men and two women, who will stay there for 200 days. After that, the first group will return for the remaining 105 days.
The experiment, code-named “Yuegong-365,” is Beihang’s second attempt to see how the Bioregenerative Life Support System (BLSS) works in a moon-like environment. A successful 105-day trial was conducted in 2014.
The BLSS is a system where animals, plants and microorganisms co-exist. Water and food can be recycled in the system, creating an earth-like environment.