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posted by cmn32480 on Thursday June 15 2017, @05:14AM   Printer-friendly
from the lunar-tater-tots dept.

China plans to send a 3 kg miniature ecosystem biosphere to the surface of the moon by using Chang'e 4 mission, incorporating a robotic lander and rover. When it departs in 2018.

The container will send potatoes, arabidopsis seeds and silkworm eggs to the surface of the moon. 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, says Zhang Yuanxun, chief designer of the container.

[...] Suitable temperature for plants and insects to survive and thrive is between +1 .. +30 ⁰C. But the moon's surface temperature ranges between -170 ⁰C at night to +120 ⁰C in the day. To get around this problem, the container will be equipped with a[n] insulation layer and light pipes to ensure the growth of the plants and insects inside. Specially designed batteries will be used to provide a consistent energy supply.

[...] The whole event with the development of plants and insects on lunar surface will be live-streamed to the world, says the project's chief designer Xie [Gengxin].

Meanwhile researchers at the International potato center (CIP) and UTEC, Peru technical university in Lima, investigates if it's possible to grow potato on the planet Mars.

In the future all you base are owned by China?


Original Submission

Related Stories

Bigelow and ULA to Put Inflatable Module in Orbit Around the Moon by 2022 16 comments

In a move intended to align with the National Space Council's call for NASA to return to the Moon, the United Launch Alliance intends to launch a Bigelow Aerospace B330 inflatable module into low Earth orbit, and later boost it into lunar orbit using a rocket which can have propellant transferred to it from another rocket:

Bigelow Aerospace, a company devoted to manufacturing inflatable space habitats, says it's planning to put one of its modules into orbit around the Moon within the next five years. The module going to lunar space will be the B330, Bigelow's design concept for a standalone habitat that can function autonomously as a commercial space station. The plan is for the B330 to serve as something of a lunar depot, where private companies can test out new technologies, or where astronauts can stay to undergo training for deep space missions.

"Our lunar depot plan is a strong complement to other plans intended to eventually put people on Mars," Robert Bigelow, president of Bigelow Aerospace, said in a statement. "It will provide NASA and America with an exciting and financially practical success opportunity that can be accomplished in the short term."

To put the habitat in lunar orbit, Bigelow is looking to get a boost from the United Launch Alliance. The B330 is slated to launch on top of ULA's future rocket, the Vulcan, which is supposed to begin missions no earlier than 2019. The plan is for the Vulcan to loft the B330 into lower Earth orbit, where it will stay for one year to demonstrate that it works properly in space. During that time, Bigelow hopes to send supplies to the station and rotate crew members in and out every few months.

After that, it'll be time to send the module to the Moon. ULA will launch two more Vulcan rockets, leaving both of the vehicles' upper stages in orbit. Called ACES, for Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage, these stages can remain in space, propelling other spacecraft to farther out destinations. ULA plans to transfer all of the propellant from one ACES to the other, using the fully fueled stage to propel the B330 the rest of the way to lunar orbit.

The B330 is the giant version of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module.

Previously: Moon Base Could Cost Just $10 Billion Due to New Technologies
Should We Skip Mars for Now and Go to the Moon Again?
How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently
Buzz Aldrin: Retire the ISS to Reach Mars
China to Send Potato Farming Test Probe to the Moon
Stephen Hawking Urges Nations to Pursue Lunar Base and Mars Landing
Lockheed Martin Repurposing Shuttle Cargo Module to Use for Lunar Orbiting Base (could they be joined together?)
ESA Expert Envisions "Moon Village" by 2030-2050
NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station
Bigelow Expandable Activity Module to Continue Stay at the International Space Station


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Thursday June 15 2017, @05:22AM

    by mhajicek (51) on Thursday June 15 2017, @05:22AM (#525875)

    Is trying for a flyby.

    --
    The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by its_gonna_be_yuge! on Thursday June 15 2017, @06:16AM (2 children)

    by its_gonna_be_yuge! (6454) on Thursday June 15 2017, @06:16AM (#525883)

    Maybe if coal were discovered in the moon, Trump would make the moon great again.

    Until then, let's watch the Chinese videos of something actually getting done.

    • (Score: 2) by Sulla on Thursday June 15 2017, @01:13PM (1 child)

      by Sulla (5173) on Thursday June 15 2017, @01:13PM (#525986) Journal

      One rover with a potato is more important than decades of rovers and tests on the ISS and the huge advances in privte space? A four year step-back in US space operations still leaves us ahead of most of the world

      --
      Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15 2017, @07:13PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15 2017, @07:13PM (#526154)

        I would say yes.

        The rovers have been absolutely incredible and given an incredible insight into Mars in particular. But it often feels like NASA is not goal oriented, but rather shifting from one project to another with no real direction or path. I think a natural goal for humanity is colonization of another planet. Not isolated research outposts, but genuine colonization. It certainly won't be easy, but I think this is clearly going to be man's next step. To that end we are now performing some important experiments, but it really took SpaceX kind of kicking NASA in the arse (and yes, I realize the paradoxical relationship there as SpaceX 100% would not exist today if not for NASA's early support) to get them to start moving in the right direction again. For instance the extremely recent longterm habitation aboard the ISS, cryostasis-like experiments, the ongoing Mars-simulation isolation experiments in Hawaii, and so on. Those have been extremely valuable but all happened just within the past few years. That's kind of insane.

        And Mars 2020 will finally start bringing more hugely important experiments to Mars, including in-situ-resource-utilization methods to generate oxygen from Mars' atmosphere. But yeah we also need to be experimenting with longterm food production, energy generation, revolutionary autonomous building systems to establish more appropriate scales of things such as oxygen generation, habitation construction, and so on.

        Why I would say yes, to your question, in particular is that if we were experimenting with growing food on foreign bodies a decade or two ago. I think it would have left us on a far different trajectory than the one we ended up on. We ended up on a meandering (though incredibly educational) migration from one relatively disparate project to another. People need a mission. I could be entirely wrong, but I don't think China's mission followup to a successful test of farming on the moon would be then to e.g. send a probe to analyze the atmosphere of Neptune.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday June 15 2017, @07:51AM

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 15 2017, @07:51AM (#525908) Journal

    你的情况如何?
    我是个土豆!

    --
    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Geezer on Thursday June 15 2017, @10:41AM

    by Geezer (511) on Thursday June 15 2017, @10:41AM (#525938)

    The Chinese space agency has noted a sudden wave of astronaut applications from Ireland.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Thursday June 15 2017, @11:09AM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Thursday June 15 2017, @11:09AM (#525943) Journal

    > The whole event with the development of plants and insects on lunar surface will be live-streamed to the world,

    Expect the internet to go crazy over the sad plight of these poor, doomed silkworms. I predict they will reach cult internet celebrity status within hours of hatching, with some enterprising wag launching kickstarter for a silkworm rescue mission shortly thereafter.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15 2017, @11:18AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15 2017, @11:18AM (#525950)

    Aren't mentioned in the article. I wonder what the plan is? Store alot of energy during the daytime to power uv lighting during the night time?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16 2017, @04:44AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16 2017, @04:44AM (#526313)

      It's mentioned in the fukn summary...

  • (Score: 2) by rondon on Thursday June 15 2017, @12:55PM (1 child)

    by rondon (5167) on Thursday June 15 2017, @12:55PM (#525979)

    I wish my country still had the drive to do things like this that will inspire young people to reach for the stars, but ultimately I am just glad that someone is stepping up to do space things like this!

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday June 15 2017, @03:19PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday June 15 2017, @03:19PM (#526054)

      Exactly. Countries that can't get their shit together and do useful stuff in space should just step aside and let others who have the will do so, and get the recognition.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15 2017, @02:01PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15 2017, @02:01PM (#526008)

    We don't care about contaminating extraterrestrial bodies anymore?

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday June 15 2017, @03:18PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday June 15 2017, @03:18PM (#526053)

      Who's "we"?

      Some of you may worry about "contaminating" a lifeless rock, but obviously the Chinese are more worried about getting stuff done.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15 2017, @04:52PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15 2017, @04:52PM (#526088)

      Why exactly were we worrying about that?

      I mean if the mission is to look for life, you dont want to bring any signs of it with you, but thats not the end all be all. We hope to live up there someday, that will mean we have to import some stuff first.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by bob_super on Thursday June 15 2017, @05:49PM (1 child)

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday June 15 2017, @05:49PM (#526108)

        I'm almost done setting the thrusters under the Capitol building.
        Going up: Over 500 specialists in the fine art of generating and stirring up shit, hot air, and wind. Also committed to unlimited CO2 emissions.

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday June 16 2017, @05:47AM

          by kaszz (4211) on Friday June 16 2017, @05:47AM (#526320) Journal

          No need for propellant then. Hot gas generators are already present ;-)

    • (Score: 2) by its_gonna_be_yuge! on Thursday June 15 2017, @05:51PM

      by its_gonna_be_yuge! (6454) on Thursday June 15 2017, @05:51PM (#526110)

      We don't care about contaminating extraterrestrial bodies anymore?

      Certainly the president has no qualms about contaminating terrestrial bodies. Extraterrestrial is just more pussy to grab for the head potato.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15 2017, @11:05PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15 2017, @11:05PM (#526243)

      Because it has no atmosphere, it cannot sustain life unless that life brings its own ecosystem.

      That's called a terrarium. [google.com]
      Properly done, those are a sealed environment where there is a perfect balance between oxygen-consuming organisms and carbon dioxide-consuming organisms.

      N.B. If it's not sealed, it's just a "planter" and that wouldn't work on the moon.

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16 2017, @04:46AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16 2017, @04:46AM (#526314)

      Only insightful to people to stupid to understand the summary even.

      They aren't just flying by and dumping a bunch of potatoes on the moon.

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