Lunar Palace 1 or Moon Palace 1 or Yuegong-1 (Chinese: 月宫1号 or 月宫1 or 月宫一号 or 月宫一 ; pinyin: Yuègōng 1 hào or Yuègōng 1 or Yuègōng Yī hào or Yuègōng Yī) is a Chinese research facility for developing a moon base. It is an environmentally closed facility where occupants can simulate a long-duration self-contained mission with no outside inputs other than power/energy.
Lunar Palace 1, the 160m2 500m3 self-contained laboratory in Beijing, is composed of a 58m2 vegetation area of two cabins, 42m2 living area with 3 bedrooms, dining room, bathroom and waste disposal chamber. The lab was designed by Liu Hong of the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA). The lab is a type of Bioregenerative life support system (BLSS), the third built in the world, and first in China.
With a crew of 3, 55% of the food consumed would be produced internally, the rest would be from stocks laid-in. The oxygen would be regenerated through the vegetation compartment. The water is recycled internally. The crew's waste was turned into fertilizer for the vegetation.
The First Research Mission
The first research mission to use the facilities was the Integrative Experimental Facility "Lunar Palace 1" for Permanent Astrobase Life-support Artificial Closed Ecosystem (PALACE) Research (aka "Lunar Palace-1") 105-day mission of 3 researchers. The three, Dong Chen♂, Xie Beizhen♀, and Wang Minjuan♀, two women and one man volunteers from the BUAA, were the first multi-crew long duration research project undertaken of this kind in China, during the period 2014 February 3 to May 20.
The crew grew five cereals, including wheat, corn; soybeans, peanuts, lentils; 15 vegetables, including carrots, cucumbers, water spinach; one fruit, strawberries. The grown wheat provided the main source of calories for the crew and the primary source of oxygen. Meat was the primary laid-in foodstock; however, meat was grown on the mission as well, in the form of yellow mealworms, the primary protein source for the crew.
The diet studied was to determine if a spacecrew could subsist on a high protein diet with vegetation and mealworms. The mealworms, composed of 3/4 protein, were chosen due to a United Nations study recommending it as a foodsource for the poor and undernourished of the world; however, it has met with resistance when tried with Western astronauts. They also have a tendency to escape their farming environments. Growing mealworms the size of fingers took mere weeks. The mealworms were fed the leftover and inedible parts of the vegetative produce that was harvested.
The mission's ecological system was to be a testbed for the controlled ecological life support system (CELSS) for the permanent Chinese space station of the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CSME). The BLSS system used on the mission was at the time the most advanced ever fielded.
The Second Research Mission
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- Bioregenerative life support system (BLSS)
- Biosphere 2, an environmentally cut-off research facility
- Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP)
- Tiangong (Heavenly Palace), Chinese orbital space station program
- Huang Leyi, Yu Fei (1 July 2014). "Chinese scientists prepare for lunar base life support system". SpaceDaily.
- Voice of Moscow (26 May 2014). "Chinese space team survives on worm diet for 105 days". SpaceDaily.
- Li Hongmei (2013-12-20). "China reportedly to produce Yuegong-1 lab growing food in space". China Economic Net.
- "「月宮1号」が中国初の長期的で多人数による密閉試験を完了" (in Chinese). The People's Daily. 2014-05-21.
- "我国在地球建"月宫一号"模拟月球生存：已开始启动性实验" (in Chinese). 观察者网. 2013-12-18.
- Leonard David (22 June 2014). "China's 'Lunar Palace' for Space Research Tested on Earth". Space.com. Yahoo News.
- Mary-Ann Russon (21 May 2014). "Move Aside Nasa: China's Yuegong-1 Simulates Plant Cultivation on the Moon". IB Times. Yahoo News.
- "Space hopefuls dine on worms in Moon Palace 1". New Scientist (2971). 28 May 2014.
- '"Moon Palace 1" experiment succeeds' - People's Daily, 2014 May 22 10:19