ARTIFICIAL MOON vs LEVITATING FROG
Inspired by – of all things – a levitating frog experiment, the South China Morning Post has reported that Chinese scientists have successfully built a “low-earth gravity” facility designed to artificially simulate the moon’s gravity, located in the eastern city of Xuzhou.
The facility uses giant magnets that levitate the room off the ground, creating a simulated gravitational field inside of a vacuum chamber, similar to how the vacuum of space works.
However, for those of you thinking that this facility will be on a grand scale – the artificial moon will be just 60cm in size.
Li Ruilin, lead scientist for the project from the China University of Mining and Technology, said the program is the “first of its kind in the world” and is capable of making gravity “disappear”. The technology will be used to prepare Chinese astronauts for up and coming lunar missions.
In the last 10 years China has managed to lift their technology game exponentially, with other marvels like the $1 trillion USD ‘artificial sun’ five times hotter than our actual sun (70 million degrees Celsius) and their powerful weather control technology to name a few.
The idea of creating a “zero-gravity” environment on earth might sound like science fiction, however the concept was proven much earlier on than you may expect. Russian physicist and professor at the University of Manchester Andre Geim won a Ig Nobel prize for levitating a live frog with magnets in 2000.
According to Slate ‘Most thought that water’s magnetism, billions of times weaker than iron, was not strong enough to counter gravity; the demonstration showed its true force.’ This experiment demonstrated “that a seemingly ‘feeble magnetic response of water’ could act against Earth’s gravitational force.”
Video of Professor Geim’s magnet levitating frog experiment can be viewed below:
ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY EXPERIMENTS
NASA has toyed with the idea of using ‘artificial gravity’ to study the effects on the human body, as being in a low-gravity environment for a sustained period of time can lead to interesting side-effects on the human body.
“Space adaptation syndrome” (SAS) is the most common health ailment faced by astronauts. Weightlessness effects our orientation and feeling of balance in space which can lead to nausea, headaches, vomiting and a wide range of other frustrating symptoms.
Another medical issue – though more uncommon – is known as “squashed eyeball disorder”. Regarded as the riskiest medical problem facing astronauts, squashed eyeball disorder is caused by fluids floating into the head which squash the eyeballs over time, according to the BBC.
However, it appears likely that the Chinese facility will be used to mainly test mission critical equipment. Scientist Li Ruilin told the SCMP “Some experiments such as an impact test need just a few seconds [in the simulator]… others such as creep testing can take several days.”