You're Not Going To Believe What NASA Is Up To
December 5, 2013
NASA is taking a small step toward seeing if humans could live on the moon by planning an experiment to explore whether plants can be grown in the lunar environment.
"This will be the very first life science experiment performed in deep space," says plant scientist Bob Bowman, one of the researchers behind the project. "Our goal is to show that the living organism can thrive in what really is a hostile environment," he tells The Salt.
The plan is to develop a very simple sealed growth chamber that can support germination over a 5-10 day period in a spacecraft on the Moon. Seedlings and filter paper will be placed inside the chamber. Upon landing on the Moon a trigger would release a small reservoir of water wetting the filter paper and initiating the germination process.
The entire thing is about the size of a coffee canister, and it weights only one kilogram. It'll be hitching a ride on the Moon Express lander, a commercial spacecraft enrolled in the Google Lunar X Prize that's set to launch sometime in 2015.
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