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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?


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  • (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.

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  • (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.