New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: Scientists in China have built an 'artificial moon' for testing gravity and helping astronauts for future exploration missions. As per the South China Morning Post, the low-gravity simulated environment was inspired by experiments that made use of magnets to levitate a frog. Now, the research facility can control the gravity inside a vacuum chamber that is 60 centimeters in diameter and make the gravitational pull disappear.

Currently, simulating low gravity on Earth requires flying in an aircraft that enters a free fall, then climbs back up, or falling from a drop tower, but that lasts minutes.

The new lunar simulator, which is a small 2ft room sitting in a vacuum chamber, can simulate low or zero gravity 'for as long as you want,' explained its developers.

Also, the new lunar simulator is based in Xuzhou in the Jiangsu province of China. It is a 2ft room with an artificial lunar landscape, made up of rocks and dust that are as light as those found on the surface of the moon.

Li Ruilin, a geotechnical engineer at the China University of Mining and Technology, told the South China Morning Post that the chamber, which will be filled with rocks and dust to imitate the lunar surface, is the "first of its kind in the world" and that it could maintain such low-gravity conditions for "as long as you want."

"Some experiments, such as an impact test, need just a few seconds [in the simulator]," Li said. "But others, such as creep testing, can take several days." A creep test measures how much a material will deform under a constant temperature and stress.

According to Scientists, this concept of using magnetic fields for levitation came from Russian physicist Andre Geim, who won an Ig Nobel prize in 2000 for making a frog float.

With this artificial tech, they will be able to test equipment before it leave for the moon, preventing miscalculations that could scupper a real, live project on the lunar surface.

Furthermore, the artificial moon is expected to play an important role in future missions to the moon, allowing scientists to plan exercises and prepare for building in low gravity.

China has set a goal of sending astronauts to the moon by 2030, and set up a base on the moon, in a joint project with Russia by the end of this decade.

Posted By: Ashita Singh