Researchers from the University of Mining and Technology of China have built a camera that recreates in the laboratory the gravity conditions of the Moon as well as the materials found on its surface. This antigravity camera, its creators say, is “The first of its kind in the world” and it will be used to carry out experiments that help to prepare the next lunar missions.
According informs The Hong Kong media South China Morning Post (SCMP), the artificial mini-moon is 60 cm in diameter and on its surface there are dust and rocks that simulate those that form the lunar landscape. It has a magnetic field strong enough to counteract the force of Earth’s gravity and recreate that on the Moon, six times less than that of our planet. A) Yes can levitate small things like a chestnut or small animals like a frog.
The head researcher of the project, the professor Li Ruilin, ensures that, contrary to what happens with other methods simulating low gravity for a short period of time, your system can be used for as long as needed. In addition, the size of these simulators is much smaller than the one presented by the Chinese researchers and the experiments that can be done with them are more limited. “Some experiments, like a bump test, only take a few seconds [en el simulador]. But others, like stress tests, can take several days, “explains Li.
The inspiration for creating this system, Li admits, comes from previous work on magnetic levitation by Russian physicist André Geim, a double Nobel Prize winner. “Magnetic levitation is certainly not the same as antigravity, but there are a variety of situations where mimic microgravity using magnetic fields It could be very valuable to prepare for the challenges of space research, “said Li in a statement to the Hong Kong media.
The miniature moon is at a research center in the eastern city of Xuzhou, and according to the SCMP it will be officially unveiled in a few months. This simulator will allow scientists to test equipment and techniques – such as building infrastructures with 3D printers – in conditions similar to the demanding lunar environment and will help avoid calculation errors which can translate into a huge financial cost.
The new race to the moon
China is accelerating its missions to the Moon and recently announced its intention to advance the construction of its permanent lunar base, which is supported by Russia, to 2027. Eight years ahead of schedule. The rush responds to a strategic change by the Chinese government in terms of its space policy. If before they publicly assured that their country had no intention of entering a space race with the rest of the nations, now their actions show a radical shift in their positions.
China has not signed the Artemis Accords, a pact between nations that is heir to the Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 and sponsored by the United Nations. These agreements highlight the need for peaceful collaboration between nations as the fundamental foundation of space exploration and enact transparency in their science and exploration missions.
China does not trust American leadership Through Zhang Chongfeng, the deputy chief designer of the Chinese space program, he assures that these agreements only serve to allow the US to seize the moon and all its resources.
For its part, the US has already announced on several occasions the delay of its Artemis Mission due to legal and bureaucratic problems. This mission also has the ultimate goal of establishing a colony on our satellite and Other space agencies such as the European, Japanese or Canadian also participate in it.
There are voices within the Chinese community they speak of the benefits of collaboration between the two countries. If this collaboration does not finally take place, there is a good chance that we will end up witnessing a new installment of the conquest of the Wild West, but in a space version.