Japan researchers to be sealed in 'Mini-Earth' to plan for space life
Japanese researchers said they would seal themselves in a "mini-Earth" in an experiment in self-sufficiency to plan for future life in space. Two researchers will spend one week in the controlled ecosystem at Rokkasho in the northern prefecture of Aomori, growing plants such as rice, breeding goats and recycling their water, oxygen and excreta.
Apart from the goats, the researchers will be completely on their own, save for outside energy and the Internet. The facility to be set up by the Institute for Environmental Sciences will be 500 square meters (5,380 square feet) with separate spaces for the humans, animals and plants. "The research results may be applied in looking at a future habitation in space," said Toshihiko Ebina, a spokesman for the government-backed institute. The institute will launch the first one-week experiment this September and will hold two more week-long experiments within the year. It plans a four-months-long experiment in the mini-Earth in the next four years.