Chinese volunteers complete 180-day space colony experiment
Beijing, Dec 14 (IANS) Four Chinese volunteers on Wednesday completed a 180-day experiment of living inside a closed capsule to explore the possibility of humans surviving in an isolated environment, with an eye to developing possible human colonies in space, media reports said.
A Local Chinese TV channel showed visuals of the volunteers — three men and a woman — coming out smiling and in apparent good health, from a closed enclosure in the southern city of Shenzhen and hugging their families, reports Efe.
The volunteers — Tang Yongkang, Luo Jie, Wu Shiyun and Tong Feizhou — lived in a 1,214 sq feet capsule, divided into eight compartments which included a greenhouse to cultivate vegetables in artificial conditions.
During the experiment, promoted by the Astronaut Center of China, German Aerospace Center and Harvard University, several vital parameters of the volunteers, including changes in sleep patterns as well as psychological, physiological and bio-rhythmical changes were monitored.
The capsule had an internal ecological system, which allowed for recycling and regeneration of oxygen and water, reducing dependency on external supplies, with an objective of developing self-sufficient human colonies in space in the future.
Currently, China is among the countries that are most intensely involved in space exploration with six manned missions.
It has also sent unmanned lunar probes and is planning a similar one to Mars.