Chinese news is abuzz today about the three Beijing volunteers who emerged from a sealed biodome on the campus of Beihang University after 105 days of eating mealworms as their primary source of animal protein.

In an experiment designed to test the feasibility of a self-enclosed space station on the moon, the scientists lived in the 300-cubic-meter biodome, cultivating 15 varieties of plants, strawberries and mealworms  which produced more than half their food for the 3+ month stay. 

The biodome is the third of its kind worldwide and a first for China. Researchers report that the dome was able to produce 100 percent of the necessary oxygen for the volunteers, and self-grown plants and mealworms represented 55 percent of the volunteers' diets (the rest, such as dried meat, was carried in). Water was also ported in but enough water was recycled via a condensation system within the unit to keep the volunteers

Perhaps more challenging for the volunteers than feasting on mealworms was that conditions in the biodome prevented stir-frying, the most common cooking method for Chinese food by far. Steaming was the most common method of cooking (no word on how the mealworms were prepared), and one of the scientists proclaimed that the lure of hot pot and roast fish restaurants just outside the campus was always in her thoughts.

I'm having flashbacks to 2005 when Channel 4 in Britain did this but in a warehouse in Suffolk with three unsuspecting members of the general public all in the name of reality TV. Why shell out on scientists when there are billions of plebs ready and waiting?

Image: Xinhua

Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog