According to the South China Morning Post, the simulated low gravity environment was inspired by experiments that used magnets to levitate a frog.
The research center can control gravity inside a vacuum chamber 60 centimeters in diameter and make the gravitational pull disappear.
Currently, simulating low gravity on Earth requires flying an airplane that enters free fall, then rises back up or falls off a falling tower, but this takes minutes.
The new lunar simulator, which is a small room located in a vacuum chamber, can simulate low or weightlessness “for as long as you like,” its developers explained.
The new lunar simulator is based in Xuzhou in China’s Jiangsu province. This is a room with an artificial lunar landscape made up of rocks and dust as light as on the surface of the moon.
Li Ruilin, a geotechnical engineer at the China University of Mining and Technology, told the South China Morning Post that the chamber, which will be filled with rocks and dust to mimic the lunar surface, is “the first of its kind in the world.”
According to scientists, this concept of using magnetic fields to levitate belongs to the Russian physicist Andrei Geim, who received the Ig Nobel Prize in 2000 for making a frog swim.