Chinese scientists have built an “artificial moon“The research facility allows them to simulate low-gravity environments using magnetism.
The facility, scheduled for an official launch this year, will use magnetic inside a vacuum chamber 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter to make Gravitation “disappear.” The scientists were inspired by an earlier experiment that used magnets to fly a frog.
Li Ruilin, a geotechnical engineer at China University of Mining and Technology, told the South China Morning Post that the capsule, filled with rocks and dust to simulate the lunar surface, is “a first of its kind” and that it can maintain such low-gravity conditions “for as long as it wants”.
Scientists plan to use the facility to test the technology in a prolonged low-gravity environment before it is sent to the moon, where gravity is only one-sixth of its strength. The earth. This will allow them to fix any costly engineering flaws, as well as test to see if certain structures exist on the lunar surface and assess the possibility of a settlement. of the people there.
“Some tests, such as impact tests, only need a few seconds [in the simulator]”Li said.” But others, such as creep testing, can take several days. “The creep test measures how well a material deforms under constant temperature and stress.
According to the researchers, the inspiration for this room came from Andre Geim, a physicist at the University of Manchester in the UK who won the satirical Ig Nobel Prize in 2000 for devising an experiment that made a human Frog hovering by a magnet.
The levitation trick used by Geim and now in the artificial lunar chamber comes from an effect called magnetic retrograde. Atom made up of atomic nuclei and small electrons orbiting them in small currents; these currents, in turn, cause very small magnetic field. Normally, the randomly oriented magnetic fields of all atoms in an object, whether they belong to a drop of water or a frog, are suppressed and no material-wide magnetism manifests. .
Apply an external magnetic field on those atoms, however, and everything changes: The electrons will change their motion, creating their own magnetic field to counteract the applied field. If the external magnet is strong enough, the repulsive magnetic field between it and the fields of the atoms will grow strong enough to overcome gravity and repel the object – whether it’s a technologically advanced lunar device or a bewildered amphibians – up into the air.
Tests completed in the chamber will be used to inform China’s lunar exploration program Change, takes its name from the Chinese moon goddess. This initiative includes Chang’an 4, landed a rover on the far side of the moon in 2019, and Chang’an 5, which took rock samples from the lunar surface in 2020. China has also announced that it will establish a lunar research station on the moon’s south pole by 2029.
Originally published on Live Science.
https://www.space.com/china-builds-artificial-moon China builds ‘artificial moon’ for gravity testing