Gardens Over the Moon
We have gotten closer to the days when there will be gardens on the Moon.
According to scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA), recent studies have proven that marigolds are capable of growing in near-surface lunar rock-soil...and without need of plant food.
"We would bring a system of water circulation and recovery, which is also the type of system that in any case you want to develop when you are going to manufacture a primitive sort of life support system...So it is also a kind of `technological breadboard' for maintaining a simple life form in an extreme environment," says Bernard Foing, a senior scientist with the European Space Research and Technology Centre (Estec) in the Netherlands.
The new developments have some scientists wanting to begin growing gardens on the Moon by 2015.
To be precise, the scientists grew the marigolds in anorthosite, an earthly rock that is chemically very similar to the regolith of the Moon. And while the marigolds needed no plant food, they didn’t grow well until scientists figured out providing them with certain bacteria.
Foing says that the discovery of making use of the extremely hardy bacteria "is the new aspect of this work."
NASA has plans to put men back on the Moon by the year 2020. The last time the
NASA’s plans for its Moon base include making the Moon a stepping stone station for manned missions to Mars.
Some ESA scientists are not as enthusiastic about beginning to terraform the Moon by 2015, however, and call the attitude expressed by Foing “science fiction”.
The ESA enthusiasts’ plans would call on robots to precede humans to the Moon and begin planting the gardens.
Tags: Moon , Gardening , Garden , Space , Marigolds
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