Potatoes in space: Chinese scientists to grow crops on surface of the moon
Chinese space program authorities have revealed plans to send potatoes to the moon as part of an experiment.
The Global Times, an English-language Chinese daily, reports that a 3-kilogram mini-ecosystem will be transported to the lunar surface via the Chang’e 4 Chinese lunar exploration mission. It is scheduled to launch on 2018, as announced by Chinese space program authorities during this year’s Global Space Exploration Conference.
The experiment is the first of its kind for China. An 18-centimeter-tall cylinder will carry potato seeds and silkworm eggs which will be incubated.
The theory is that silkworm eggs hatching will create carbon dioxide, while the potatoes generate oxygen. This will result in a give and take between the organisms as explained by Zhang Yuanxun, designer of the ecosystem model.
Project designer Xie Gengxin stated that this mission is in preparation for future moon landings and possible human occupation.
“We will livestream the development of plants and insects on lunar surface to the whole world,” Xie added.
The Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX) was held between June 6 to 8 2017 in Beijing, China. It is an event for leaders and decision makers in the science and human exploration community to gather in one place. Here they discussed recent results, current challenges and innovative solutions concerning opportunities for space exploration. Alfred Bayle/JB