The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to build a small copy of the lunar surface in the Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany. The constructed object will be used to test new technologies and tools that will be useful for future construction a residential base on Earth’s natural satellite.
The object with an artificial lunar habitat operating on the solar energy system will be located in an area of 1,000 square meters. The solar energy system will be like the one that can be used to create a residential base on the Moon in the future. To simulate lunar dust, ESA plans to use volcanic ash from 45-million-year-old eruptions of a nearby volcano. The ESA plans to install a gravitational discharge system that simulates a sense of “low gravity”. The astronauts can train in lunar-like conditions that have only one-sixth of Earth’s gravity.
Currently, ESA is finalising the design and drawings for the object. As soon as construction of the Moon on Earth is complete, it will be used for demonstrating and validating technologies and operational tools that will be needed for human exploration of the Moon, such as the cooperation of astronauts and robots, or the testing of instruments for using lunar resources.
By the end of the year, ESA plans to develop the Future Lunar Exploration Habitat (FlexHub) – a lunar base where astronauts will live and work.
Photo credit: ESA