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Live Science's China builds 'artificial moon' for gravity experiment says:

Chinese scientists have built an "artificial moon" research facility that will enable them to simulate low-gravity environments using magnetism.

The facility, slated for official launch this year, will use powerful magnetic fields inside a 2-foot-diameter (60 centimeters) vacuum chamber to make gravity "disappear." The scientists were inspired by an earlier experiment that used magnets to levitate a frog.

Li Ruilin, a geotechnical engineer at the China University of Mining and Technology, told the South China Morning Post that the chamber, which will be filled with rocks and dust to imitate the lunar surface, is the "first of its kind in the world" and that it could maintain such low-gravity conditions for "as long as you want."

According to the researchers, the inspiration for the chamber came from Andre Geim, a physicist at the University of Manchester in the U.K. who won the satirical Ig Nobel Prize in 2000 for devising an experiment that made a frog float with a magnet.

The levitation trick used by Geim and now in the artificial-moon chamber comes from an effect called diamagnetic levitation...

Question: How can one make diamagnetic lunar simulant that would "float" in a strong enough magnetic field? This would be used in China's 60 cm diameter high field simulator.

These would have to be particles ranging from small rocks all the way down to the really fine, sticky and abrasive stuff that plagued Apollo space suit joints and other things.


Related about lunar regolith simulants:

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  • $\begingroup$ From Andre Geim: "He received it [the Ig Nobel] for using the magnetic properties of water scaling to levitate a small frog with magnets". One could assume from this that the same principle was applied to the lunar simulant material & that the Chinese carefully choose materials, via R&D, for the process to work. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Nov 20, 2022 at 9:23

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