NASA has plans to grow things on the moon as part of a new project called the Lunar Plant Growth Habitat Project, and they plans to grow plants and vegetables on the moon including flowers, basil and even turnips.
The plan is that NASA will send up plants to the moon in late 2015, they have developed a simple sealed growth chamber that will be used to germinate the plants over a 5 to 10 day period in a spacecraft on the moon.
Can humans live and work on the moon? Not just visit for a few days but stay for decades? A first step in long term presence is to send plants. As seedlings, they can be as sensitive as humans to environmental conditions, sometimes even more so. They carry genetic material that can be damaged by radiation as can that of humans. They can test the lunar environment for us acting as a “canary in a coal mine”.
If we send plants and they thrive, then we probably can. Thriving plants are needed for life support (food, air, water) for colonists. And plants provide psychological comfort, as the popularity of the greenhouses in Antarctica and on the Space Station show.
You can find out more information about the Lunar Plant Growth Habitat Project over at NASA.
Image Credit: Wired
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