Four Beijing university students are about to find out what it’s like to live in a space station. As part of a long-term experiment, the students will spend 200 days – that’s six and a half months – living out of two bunkers that have been transformed into a self-sustaining ‘space station,’ Reuters reports.
All four students attend the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The goal of the project is not only to get the students equipped to one day visit outer space but to create a self-sustaining ecosystem.
"I'll get so much out of this," said Liu Guanghui, a Ph.D. student and project participant. "It's truly a different life experience."
In an effort to create an environment that provides everything the students could possibly need to survive, the students will need to make their own plant cuttings and even recycle their own urine.
The two bunkers are located at Beihang University in Beijing and have been dubbed ‘Lunar Palace 1.’ The students moved into their new home on Sunday. The goal is to live self-sufficiently for an entire 200 days, which means they're not slated to get out until the end of January.
According to Liu Hong, a professor at Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the project's chief developer, the ‘Lunar Palace 1’ is equipped with everything necessary to ensure the project’s success.
"We've designed it so the oxygen (produced by plants at the station) is exactly enough to satisfy the humans, the animals and the organisms that break down the waste materials," Liu said.
However, Liu also pointed out that overcoming mental obstacles is a definite challenge the students will face.
"They can become a bit depressed," she said. "If you spend a long time in this type of environment it can create some psychological problems."
A shorter trial run of the project, which finished on Sunday, saw a group of students living in Lunar Palace 1 for 60 days. According Liu Hui, a student leader and project participant, it was not uncommon for her to feel “a bit low” at the end of the day.
After observing participants during the trial run, the project’s support team believes that setting up daily tasks will help students to remain happy.
Another challenge the four students will face is living long term without any sunlight.
According to the students, they are more than happy to face these challenges as long as it brings them one step closer to realizing their dream of becoming astronauts.
[Images via Reuters]