Credit: CCTV-Plus

A 180-day “survival experiment” is near its end mid-week.

Four Chinese volunteers — three men and one woman — have been living inside a sealed space capsule in south China’s Shenzhen City.

An objective of the space simulation is to test technologies that could support China’s deep-space exploration projects. The effort is evaluating how food, water, and oxygen can be used and recycled under controlled conditions.

More than a dozen Chinese and overseas institutions are involved in the experiment, including the Astronaut Center of China, Harvard University and the German Aerospace Center.

Sealed capsule

The 1,340-cubic-meter sealed capsule has a floor space of 370 square meters, and is divided into eight compartments, including passenger compartments, resource compartments and greenhouse compartments.

Credit: CCTV-Plus

According to CCTV-Plus, the volunteers cultivated about 25 different kinds of plants in the capsule, including wheat, potatoes, sweet potatoes, soybeans, peanuts, lettuce, edible amaranth and Chinese cabbage. The plants are part of a large ecological treatment system that helps recycle and regenerate oxygen and water that will reduce the dependency on outside supplies.

Researchers engaged in the simulation have been monitoring and observing how a hermetic environment affects physiological changes, biological rhythms, sleep patterns and emotional well-being.

New homes off-planet

Li Yinghui, head of the 180-day survival experiment in the sealed module, explained to CCTV-Plus:

“To develop new homes [on other planets], the first problem to be solved is how to survive there, including an environment for living, air for breathing, food, and then health security. So design of this experiment was aimed at such exploration targets.”

For a video look at the sealed space capsule and the volunteers, go to:

Leave a Reply