Potato plants on the moon? Spuds in space? It all sounds like something out of a bizarre fairy tale or an animated movie for children, but for Chinese researchers, the starchy root vegetable might actually be a crucial element in the future of space travel!
China might not interested in putting another man on the moon, but a proposed experiment would send both potato plants and silk worms to the celestial body’s surface. Beijing’s Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX 2017) generated a wellspring of ideas for advancing space colonization.
The current favorite aims to utilize pods that would synthesize “a mini-ecosystem on the moon’s surface” within an 8 by 16 cm cylinder. Professor Xie Gengxin, the experiment’s chief architect, wants to see if small-scale agricultural projects are sustainable on the moon. His idea was considered one of the most practical and achievable in a pool of over 250 competitors.
Numerous simulations using silk worm larvae and potato seeds have already been attempted in the lab. Scientists hope to have both the seeds and larvae on the moon by next year with the conceit being that plant will nourish animal in a kind of vacuum-sealed harmony atop the moon.
The professor and his team will evidently have their work cut out for them. The moon presents an extremely inhospitable environment for most forms of life.
As Earth’s moon lacks a fortified atmosphere to shield it from the frigid vastness of outer space or the sun’s penetrating rays, temperatures on it can fluctuate between extremely cold at night and blisteringly hot during the day.
The surface of the moon is covered in crater debris and dust from many, many years of asteroid and meteor impacts striking its rocky outside (Nasa) .
Readers may recall the protagonist’s use of a potato plant to feed himself in the 2015 movie, The Martian.
Via: China Plus