Inspired by Ig Nobel Prize Winner, China Builds a Rising Moon

The South China Morning Post reports, on January 12, 2022, that “China has built an artificial moon that simulates low-gravity conditions on Earth“. The report begins:

China has built a research facility that simulates the low-gravity environment on the moon – and it was inspired by experiments using magnets to levitate a frog.

Further details:

Li said the idea came from Russian-born physicist Andre Geim’s experiments to levitate a frog with a magnet – for which he won an Ig Nobel Prize, celebrating science that “first makes people laugh, and then think”, in 2000. Geim, from the University of Manchester in England, also won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for his work on graphene. Responding to an approach by the South China Morning Post, Geim said he was pleased that his “purely education experiments on diamagnetic levitation led to applications in space exploration”.

Here’s two-decades-old video of Andre Geim’s famous frog:

 

An Unrelated Other Levitating Moon in China

Thanks to Phil Hopkins for alerting us to the new moon project. Hopkins points out a superficial similarity with an unrelated project in China several months ago.

The Guardian reports about that: “A giant ‘moon’ rolled to freedom in Henan province after it escaped festival celebrations. It was not the first time a large inflatable satellite went rogue: in 2016 another model moon was blown into the streets of Fuzhou in south-east China during Typhoon Meranti. The moon festival is celebrated in many east Asian countries and coincides with the full harvest moon in September”. The Guardian presents this video: