Four volunteers at China’s top aeronautics university will reside in a potted laboratory for 200 days devoid of any outside interaction as the country prepares to launch its first manned mission to the moon.

 According to the People’s Daily (one of the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspapers), the group established their stretch on Sunday in the 160-square-meter lab at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

After the U.S. and Russia, China became the third country to effectively complete a soft-landing on the moon in December 2013. The government is now operating on a spacecraft competent of sending a manned mission to the moon, with the aim of putting astronauts on the moon surrounded by the next 15 to 20 years.

While China perseveres that its astral aspirations are in the spirit of passive collaborations with other countries, since 2011, NASA has been banned by Congress from working together with its Chinese counterparts due to security concerns. During his possession as the head of NASA, though, former administrator Charles Bolden said the forbid should be brief to keep the U.S. from losing out on programs to propel manned missions into space.

Named as the Yuegong-1 (means “moon palace”), the Beihang University lab is a piece of a year-long experiment that was launched on May 10 to check the dependability of its bio-regenerative life support system (BLSS) and how it affects different team members. All volunteers are postgraduates of Beihang University.

“As the utmost one of its kinds in the world, [the experiment] will assist to build up the technologies essential for the assurance of astronauts’ security and life value in medium and long-term space explorations,” the university states on its English-language site.

Yuegong-1 has a living space and two modules for cultivating plants. To reply the obvious question, human waste will be treated through a bio-fermentation method. The current volunteers chase an additional group who presently finished a 60-day period. After they depart, the third batch of volunteers will go into the cabin for 105 days, bringing the experiment to its complete 365 days.


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