China is sending two astronauts to test the country's most-advanced space station. The pair will stay in the Tiangong Space Module for 30 days. It will be China's longest manned space mission.
Imagine being unable to stand on your feet for weeks. Instead, you float in a room orbiting earth. That is what awaits two Chinese astronauts.They will stay in the Tiangong 2 space module for about a month. At the completion of their mission, the two will have doubled China's previous mission record of 15 days. But human beings are not designed to live in weightlessness and isolation.
"We try to make a good environment inside the module for living and working. In order to make astronauts' lives comfortable there, we carefully designed the lighting system and decorations in the module to make them feel less anxious. We also installed equipment to make life more convenient." Zhu Congpeng, chief designer of Tiangong 2 space lab, said.
By this he means a set of multi-functional tray tables on which astronauts can eat, write and even do some scientific experiments.
The Tiangong 2 is also equipped with a portable bluetooth stereo. So when astronauts put on bluetooth earphones, they can speak to people down on earth while moving freely in the room.
"In previous manned missions, people had to put on big headsets to contact earth. So they could not go anywhere when speaking on the phone. Now all the talking up there will be through the bluetooth stereo and earphones." Bo Linho, equipment designer of Tiangong 2 space lab, said.
Tiangong 2 designers will also test water and food sustainability for the upcoming mission. But their ambition goes beyond letting people live in space for 30 days. The space module's chief designer says his team wants to build a fully-functional space station, which can support life for months.