Chinese scientists built “artificial the moon“A research facility that will enable them to simulate low-gravity environments using magnetism.
The facility, due to be officially launched this year, will use force magnetic fields Inside a 2-foot (60 cm) diameter vacuum chamber to make gravity “Disappears.” Scientists were inspired by a previous experiment that used magnets to fly a frog.
Li Ruilin, a geotechnical engineer at China University of Mining and Technology, He told the South China Morning Post That the room, which will be filled with rocks and dust to mimic the surface of the moon, is “a first of its kind in the world” and can maintain low-gravity conditions “for as long as you want.”
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Scientists plan to use the facility to test the technology in prolonged, low-gravity environments before sending it to the moon, where gravity is only one-sixth its own. the earth. This will allow them to eliminate any costly technical kinks, as well as test whether certain structures will survive on the moon’s surface and assess the feasibility of human settlement there.
“Some experiments, such as the impact test, only need a few seconds [in the simulator], “He told me.” But others, such as a creep test, can take several days. The creep test measures how much a material deforms under constant temperature and pressure.
According to the researchers, the inspiration for the room came from Andre Geim, a physicist at the University of Manchester in the UK who won a satirical Ig Nobel Prize in 2000 for discovering an experiment that made a frog float with a magnet.
The levitation trick Geim used and is now in the satellite cabin comes from an effect called magnetoplanet. Atoms consist of atomic nuclei and tiny electrons orbiting around them in tiny rings of current. These moving currents, in turn, induce small magnetic fields. Normally, directed magnetic fields are canceled at random for all atoms in an object, whether they belong to a drop of water or a frog, and no magnetism appears at the material level.
Apply an external magnetic field to those atoms, however, and everything changes: the electrons will modify their motion, producing their own magnetic field to counteract the applied field. If the outer magnet were strong enough, the magnetic force of the repulsion between it and the field of atoms would grow strong enough to overcome gravity and lift the object – whether it’s an advanced piece of lunar technology or a disoriented amphibian – into the air.
The tests completed in the chamber will be used to inform the Chinese lunar exploration program Chang’e, whose name is derived from the Chinese moon goddess. This initiative includes Chang’e 4, which landed a rover on the far side of the Moon in 2019, and Chang’e 5, which retrieved rock samples from the lunar surface in 2020. China has also announced that it will set up a lunar search station on the South Pole. to the moon by 2029.
Originally published on Live Science.