Mars image from Shutterstock
As more and more (and more) groups announce their intent to venture to Mars, it’s perhaps inevitable that we’d see some fairly odd life-sustaining science developing; and now Chinese state media is reporting that their nation’s space program has developed the ability to grow vegetables on the red planet! The technique—tested here on earth, in Beijing—would enable astronauts on China’s planned missions to the moon and to Mars to not only grow vegetables, but also to maintain an “ecological life support system” that would also produce air and water.
Scientists at the Chinese Astronaut Research and Training Center created the plant- and algae-based “ecological life support system,” a 300 cubic meter cabin, so that “Chinese astronauts may get fresh vegetables and oxygen supplies by gardening in extra-terrestrial bases in the future,” according to a report from the Xinhua news agency. Such missions are likely to include China’s efforts to send a manned mission to the moon, following a planned unmanned moon landing slated to happen next year.