In a statement on the subject, Li Ruilin, a scientist from the Mining and Technology University of China, said in a statement that the artificial moon project in the city of Xuzhou is expected to be officially launched in the upcoming months.
Describing the program as ‘the first of its kind in the world‘, Li said that with the project, it took the Moon simulation to a whole new level, as gravity can be ‘lost at will‘.
The experimental site consists of a vacuum chamber containing a 60 cm diameter mini ‘Artificial Moon‘ and is supported by a Moon-like magnetic field, which is about one-sixth of the gravity on Earth.
Li said the project will play an important role in preparing for Chinese lunar operations. He said the project will allow scientists to test the equipment and even prevent costly miscalculations on the moon itself.
On the other hand, Li said that in the experiments to be carried out, tests such as the ‘impact test‘ can be completed in a few seconds and activities such as the ‘creep test‘ can be completed in a few days. “Some experiments in the simulated environment may give us important clues as to where to look for the water that remains below the surface.”
On the other hand, experiments will also test whether 3D printing works on the Moon or whether lunar settlements are sustainable.
While noting that some technical innovations are needed for the construction of the facility, Li noted that the magnetic forces required to create the atmosphere are strong enough to break apart components such as superconducting wires and render many metallic components useless.
Li also added that the facility, inspired by Andre Geim’s experiments in levitating a frog with a magnet, will be open to researchers from around the world.