China has long been planning to build a lunar base but before it sets up facilities for its astronauts on the moon, it’s running simulations here on Earth to better understand the conditions and challenges that astronauts might face up there. Four Chinese volunteers have spent 200 days in a simulated lunar base in Beijing. They have broken the record for the longest stay in a self-sustaining cabin. A 105 day trial has previously been carried out at the Lunar Palace back in 2014.

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The volunteers had no input from the outside world, they were responsible for growing their own food and also handled their own waste. The simulated base – called Lunar Palace – has two plant modules where the volunteers grew and harvested their own food. The living cabin has a 450 square feet area with four sleeping cubicles, a bathroom, a waste treatment facility, a common room, and even a roo for growing animals.

The purpose of this simulation was to see how the Bioregenerative Life Support System (BLSS) functions over longer periods of time and to see how the volunteers would handle the psychological stress of it all. No further information has been revealed about the experiments conducted during the simulation.

As if this doesn’t sound challenging enough, the lab where this experiment was hosted went through unexpected power blackouts. This “challenged the system as well as the psychological status of the volunteers, but they withstood the test,” said Liu Hong, the chief designer of the module.

Filed in General. Read more about China.

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