Lunar Palace 1: China's One-Year Mock Moon Mission in Pictures

Taking the Oath

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In May 2018, China wrapped up a yearlong mission inside "Lunar Palace 1," a Beijing facility designed to help the nation prepare to but boots on the moon. See images of the experiment here. (Read our full story here.) Here: Four volunteers take the oath in front of Lunar Palace 1, a facility for conducting bio-regenerative life-support systems experiments key to setting up a lunar base, at the Beijing University for Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA) on May 10, 2017. A ceremony was held in the BUAA that day as eight volunteers in two groups started a 365-day experiment in Lunar Palace 1.

Schematics of a Palace

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The layout of China's Lunar Palace 1.

An Inside Peak

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n inside look at one area of China’s Lunar Palace 1.

Growing the Goods

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No moon pies grown in China's Lunar Palace 1. Shown here are plants cultivated within the test facility.

Setting Records

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Volunteers work in the cabin at Beihang University in Beijing on Jan. 26, 2018. Two male and two female students from Beihang University, the second group of volunteers staying in Lunar Palace 1, completed the second phase of its 365-day on-ground experiment that day, setting a world record for the longest stay in a self-contained "cabin." The first group of volunteers, who had previously stayed in the cabin for 60 days, re-entered the cabin to replace the second group, starting the third and final phase, which lasted 105 days. The experiment was designed to see how the Bioregenerative Life Support System, in which animals, plants and microorganisms co-exist, works in a lunar environment, as well as the physical and mental conditions of humans in such an environment.

Tracking Progress

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A scientist monitors the experiment at Beihang University in Beijing on Jan. 26, 2018.

Hello from Inside

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Student volunteers wave from inside Lunar Palace 1, a laboratory simulating a lunar-like environment, in Beijing on May 10, 2017. Chinese students lived in the laboratory simulating a lunar-like environment for up to 200 days, helping China prepare for its long-term goal of putting humans on the moon. Four postgraduate students from the capital's astronautics research university Beihang entered the 160-square-meter (1,720-square-foot) cabin — dubbed "Yuegong-1,” or "Lunar Palace 1” — on May 10, state media reported.

End of a Phase

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Student volunteers are seen inside Lunar Palace 1, a laboratory simulating a lunar-like environment, as they prepare to leave the site in Beijing on May 15, 2018, after 110 days of isolation.

Grateful Volunteers

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Student volunteers (in blue) shake hands with scientists after leaving Lunar Palace 1 on May 15, 2018. 

Proudly Presented

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Liu Hong, chief designer of Yuegong-1, or Lunar Palace 1, speaks at a ceremony at Beihang University in Beijing on May 15, 2018. Chinese volunteers have completed a one-year test living in a simulated space lab in Beijing, setting a new record for the longest stay in a self-contained cabin. The total length of the test, which started on May 10th last year, reached 370 days, with the third stage accounting for 110 days. Liu Hong said the test marks the longest stay in a bioregenerative life support system, in which humans, animals, plants and microorganisms co-exist in a closed environment, simulating a lunar base. 

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