The space program of China has been growing at an unprecedented rate and Beijing has come a long way to catch up to its main rivals, the United States and Russia in the arena of space expedition.The country has now constructed an artificial moon facility that will simulate lunar conditions and will also provide a platform for scientists to test new technology and future missions.This state of the art facility is located in the eastern city of Xuzhou, in Jiangsu province and it is being called as the “first of its kind in the world.
This facility can make gravity “disappear” and can replicate low gravity environments for as long as it wants. This will make China less dependent on zero-gravity planes to train astronauts, and environments to test new rovers and technologies.China University of Mining and Technology’s Li Ruilin is spearheading this project.”While low gravity can be achieved in an aircraft or a drop tower, it is momentary,” Li told the South China Morning Post. He also added that effect can “last as long as you want” in the simulator.
The replica moon measures about two feet in diameter and the artificial surface has been made with rocks and dust that are as light as those on the moon.It is to be noted that the moon’s gravity is not zero, but one-sixth as powerful as the gravity on Earth due to the magnetic field.”Some experiments such as an impact test need just a few seconds, but others such as creep testing can take several days,” Li added.
This idea to develop the facility is inspired by the Russian-born physicist Andre Geim’s experiments to levitate a frog with a magnet.”Magnetic levitation is certainly not the same as antigravity, but there is a variety of situations where mimicking microgravity by magnetic fields could be invaluable to expect the unexpected in space research,” the physicists told South China Morning Post.Li further informed SCMP that the moon simulator could also be used to test whether new technology such as 3D printing could be used to build structures on the lunar surface.Also Read –Bangladesh arrests banned ARSA leader’s brotherHe further went on to say that some experiments conducted in the simulated environment can provide some important clues, such as where to look for water trapped under the surface.This project comes in the backdrop of the development of artificial sun by China to replicate the nuclear fusion process that occurs naturally in the sun and stars to provide almost infinite clean energy.