According to reports, Chinese scientists created an artificial moon research facility that allows them to recreate low-gravity conditions on Earth for small objects.
The new development comes as China aspires to join the space giants, including the United States and Russia. The CNSA, the Chinese space agency, anticipates that the new facility will aid in the preparation of the country’s first crewed mission to the Moon.
The artificial Moon is enclosed in a vacuum box with only 23.6 in (60 cm) diameter. It will be capable of making gravity “disappear” for “as long as you want.” The China University of Mining’s Li Ruilin, from the China University of Mining and Technology, said.
“Some experiments such as an impact test need just a few seconds [in the simulator],” Li added. “But others such as creep testing can take several days.”
The scientists employed a powerful magnetic field to magnetize and lift small items. The facility was driven by physicist Andrew Geim’s work in which he used magnets to lift a frog.
China’s new magnetic artificial moon facility does not provide an accurate low-gravity simulation; however, it allows equipment testing under similar circumstances. Therefore, the CNSA thinks that the new facility will aid in testing lunar technology on Earth. For instance, the researchers will evaluate whether 3D printing equipment can be used in low-gravity environments to see if the technology may be used to build lunar habitats and other equipment.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute’s design for a “mega satellite colony” orbiting Ceres and Orbital Assembly’s space hotel are the most recent gravity simulation ideas for future spinning space settlements.
China’s space agency became the first to locate water on the Moon’s surface with its Chang’e-5 lunar mission. The fast-growing space agency intends to beat NASA and SpaceX to Mars by sending a crewed mission there by 2033.