There will be at least one sphere still around after the Earth ends later this year. (Photo/CFP)
Yang Zongfu, a businessman and inventor in Yiwu in eastern China's Zhejiang province, has built his own "Noah's Ark" in preparation for the end of the world.
Test runs for the craft, which involved a roll of 50 meters, resulted in Yang's survival, albeit with slight injuries. The rigorous hill test, yang believes makes the craft tough enough to endure tsunamis, gale-force winds, earth fissures, crumbling mountains and other possible end-of-the-world weather conditions, has impressed one businessman from Shanxi so much that he has ordered 15 models of the ship, reports Modern Express, a Chinese-language newspaper under the official news agency Xinhua.
A scene from the Hollywood movie 2012, in which people rush to board Chinese-built arks as floods engulf the world and earthquakes shake it to pieces, made a deep impression on Yang. After a snowstorm in 2008, the 32-year-old man decided to build his own.
Yang, an inventor who owns about 300 patents spanning a variety of inventions, began to make his dream a reality five months ago by himself after two years of fruitlessly searching for partners online. With his own money, he built the craft for a reasonable 1.5 million yuan (US$235,800), not much to pay for survival at the end of the world.
On Monday, Yang, wearing a helmet and protective costume, entered his "ark", a giant, six-ton yellow sphere four meters in diameter, for a crash test. In his closest approximation to an apocalypse scenario, Yang rolled inside the ball down a nearly vertical 50-meter hill. Following a course, the ark crashed through a wall (mountain) before coming to a stop in a pond (flood). Spectators looked on as the hatch opened and out crawled the man who would outwit nature herself, sporting only a small wound on the chin.
"I felt powerless and lost all sense of balance during the test. But I did not feel any pain and the wound was only because I put the helmet on backwards," Yang was quoted by the Modern Express as saying.
The vehicle is heat-resistant, crash-proof and buoyant as well as having its own oxygen supply, Yang said.
"The vehicle is feasible based on the theory of physics," Liao Qinghua, a professor at Nanchang University, told the newspaper. It is similar in design to a submarine. If the oxygen levels are suficient, it would not be a problem to live in it, Liao said.
Yang said on Tuesday that he has received an order from a businessperson in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province in northern China, who declined to reveal their personal information. The mysterious customer would like to buy 15 of the spheres, made from the finest materials, and stressed that money is no object.
Wang, who has been dubbed "China's Edison," began his inventing career in 2004. He and his team have invented a variety of gadgets, including multi-layer insoles, anti-theft zippers and an anti-heating car device, which has been marketed to many countries in the world.
Yang Zongfu 楊宗福