“How would you like to live on the moon, Scorch?”, asked Orak bouncing up and down in excitement. “The humans are working hard to find a way.”

“Didn’t they just find a way to grow food on Mars?” asked Felix.

“Well yes. But this is a different team. Researchers in China have set up an artificial moon center! You see, they want to learn a lot more about the moon, its surface, and what structures can survive there. Instead of sending satellites and astronauts up there, they decided to build an artificial moon center here on Earth. This helps them test everything and perfect it before spending a lot of money to go to the moon,” said Orak.

“That’s pretty smart, Orak. As the MysticLord says, preparedness is everything,” said Scorch. “So they built a moon here? How big is it?”

“Yes. There is a moon, but it’s just 60 centimeters in diameter compared to the actual moon’s 3,474.8 kilometers. They have built a chamber with very low gravity and it will be filled with rocks and dust to make it look and feel like the moon’s surface. So anything they build to actually go to space can be tested in this chamber to ensure they survive long. Think of it as a practice ground.

China’s lunar exploration program is called Chang’e, named after the Chinese goddess of the moon. Chang’e landed a rover on the actual moon in 2019 and collected rock samples in 2020. All the learnings from the artificial moon center will be used to make Chang’e more efficient. They said that by 2029 they want to build a lunar research outpost on the moon’s south pole!” said Orak.

It’s an exciting time to study astronomy!