Lunar Palace 1, 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 missions with no outside inputs other than power/energy.
Lunar Palace 1 occupies a 160m2 500m3 self-contained laboratory in Beijing composed of a 58m2 vegetation area of two cabins, a 42m2 living area with three 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 the first in China.
With a crew of three, 55% of the food consumed is to be produced internally, balanced by reserves. The oxygen would be regenerated through the vegetation compartment, and the water is to be recycled internally. The crew's waste was composted.
First research mission
The first research mission was the Integrative Experimental Facility "Lunar Palace 1" for Permanent Astrobase Life-support Artificial Closed Ecosystem (PALACE) Research (aka "Lunar Palace-1"), a 105-day mission of three researchers. The one man, Dong Chen, and two women, Xie Beizhen and Wang Minjuan, volunteers from the BUAA, conducted the first long-duration research project of this kind in China, 3 February to 20 May 2014.
The crew grew five cereals, including wheat, corn, soybeans, peanuts and lentils; 15 vegetables, including carrots, cucumbers and water spinach; and one fruit, strawberries. The wheat provided the main source of calories and the primary source of oxygen. Meat was the primary foodstock; however, meat was grown, in the form of yellow mealworms, the crew's primary protein source.
The diet studied was to determine if a space crew could subsist on a high protein diet with vegetables and mealworms. The mealworms, composed of 3/4 protein, were chosen due to a United Nations study recommending them as a food source for the poor and undernourished; however, it was met with resistance from Western astronauts. They have a tendency to escape confinement. Mealworms reached the size of fingers in weeks. The mealworms were fed the leftover and inedible parts of the produce.
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.
- Bioregenerative life support system (BLSS) – Artificial ecosystem
- Biosphere 2 – Artificial closed ecological system, an environmentally cut-off research facility
- BIOS-3 – A closed ecosystem at the Institute of Biophysics in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
- Chinese Lunar Exploration Program – Chinese lunar research 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