China plans to grow potatoes on moon
Spuds on moon. Photograph: (Twitter)
China plans to grow potatoes and raise silkworms on the moon, according to Chongqing Morning Post.
The ambitious space farming project will be overseen by a research team led by Chongqing University.
The research team will build a 3 kg ecosystem chamber, which would be sent to the moon in Chang'e 4 lunar lander in 2018.
Chief designer Zhang Yuanxun said they intend the container to "send potatoes, arabidopsis seeds and silkworm eggs" to the moon to see if they can survive there.
"The eggs will hatch into silkworms, which can produce carbon dioxide, while the potatoes and seeds emit oxygen through photosynthesis. Together, they can establish a simple ecosystem on the Moon,” the chief designer outlined.
The research team also plan to "livestream the development of plants and insects".
The major obstacle would be the hostile conditions on moon. The ideal temperature for plants and insects to thrive in range between 1C and 30C, whereas the temperatures on earth's natural satellite ranges between -170C and 120C.
To overcome the problem, the research team plans to cover the ecosystem chamber with an insulating layer.
China's idea comes nearly a year after NASA and the International Potato Centre learnt from initial tests conducted in Peru that spuds could grow in simulated Martian conditions.