China concluded Tuesday a virtual biosphere experiment where three volunteers lived 105 days in an enclosed capsule surviving on plants and insects grown in laboratory.
This was China’s first manned test of the ‘Moon Palace 1′, a 500-cubic meter module that is China’s first and the world’s third bioregenerative life support base, a Xinhua report says.
Researchers did the experiment in closed lab set on the campus of Beihang University, a virtual biosphere where people provided food for themselves by cultivating grain, vegetable, fruit and insects.
The system, featuring a cabin and two plant cultivation labs, also produced water and fertilizers, process waste and revitalize air.
Chief Designer of the System Liu Hong said it is a miniature version of the Earth’s biosphere. “It can help make it possible for astronauts to live safely in space stations without any deliveries of supplies for long periods.”
Liu said the research team selected five grains, 15 varieties of vegetable, one kind of fruit as well as a yellow mealworm, which provided protein for the volunteers during the experiment.
Chinese researchers hope the life support system can push further China’s manned space mission.
Last June, three Chinese astronauts spent 12 days in Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace 1) in the country’s longest manned space mission.
China’s manned space mission has entered its second decade with ambitious plans of building a permanent space station and manned lunar probe. (