Lunar Palace 1 opens to public to mark China Space Day
A main goal of "Lunar Palace 1" is to explore how a space mission could be totally self-sustaining over a long period of time.
"Lunar Palace" includes two separate cabins specially for growing plants.
And a third includes 4 bedrooms, a bathroom, a sitting room, a waste-treatment room and a room for raising insects.
Du Yao, who is taking part in the project, says 8 volunteers need to live in the closed "Lunar Palace 1" with no input for 365 days in three batches.
"Currently, oxygen and water are 100% self-supplied in Lunar Palace 1. 80% of the food is self-supplied. Certian seasonings like salt, oil and sugar are imported from the outside."
Du Yao says the volunteers harvest grain, vegetables and fruit, while an inedible material has been used to raise mealworms as a source of protein.
Human waste, food residue and other byproducts are treated by bio-techniques and used to help with plant cultivation.
Those visiting "Lunar Palace 1" this past weekend were in awe of what the volunteers have been able to accomplish.
"I can't imagine so many plants can be cultivated there."
"It's very difficult to for a closed ecosystem with people there to sustain. It's amazing that Lunar Palace 1 is so sophisticated and volunteers can live there for such a long time."
"The waste treatment process is pretty good. All the nutrition the plants need can be extracted from this process. "
"365 days being cut from the outside world, it's hard to imagine."
The 500-cubic meter module is China's first and the world's third bio-regenerative life support base.
Experts say it plays a significant role in the Chinese Space Program, as it is providing insight into a potential manned outpost on the moon, as well as future manned missions to mars.
Liu Hong is one of the leaders of the "Lunar Palace 1" project.
"Currently, the experiment stays on the earth. It's just a closed system, without considering the different gravity and radioactivity in space. In the following step, we will work on mini Bioregenerative life support system in space stations, the moon probe or maybe Mars probe."
The current experiment started in May of last year.
The first four volunteers lived inside for 60 days, the second four for 200 days.
The original 4 are now inside for 105 days.
They're due to be released from their self-imposed captivity next month.
For CRI, this is XYee.