Turnips in Space: NASA Gets Into Inter-Planetary Farming
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Ground control to Farmer Tom! NASA recently announced that they’re working on a project to grow fresh vegetables (including basil, cress, and turnips) on the moon. A space-age garden sounds like something straight out of Wall-E, but it’s happening soon — 2015, to be specific. If this first test run is successful, it will open a lot of possibilities in terms of the moon eventually supporting life. (Plus, it’ll mean we can still get our daily dose of veggies even in outer space!)
Moon farming is just as complicated as it sounds — NASA’s hardly about to rocket Old Bessie out to space to plow the moon’s surface. Instead, the space pros have developed containers that look like a cross between your fourth grade terrarium and coffee cans. The sealed canisters are built to withstand atmospheric pressure, radiation, and extreme temperatures. (Fun fact: During the day, the moon can heat up to 253 degrees Fahrenheit, while the dark side of the moon can get as nippy as -387 degrees Fahrenheit.) The veggies will hitch a ride on the Moon Express, one of the first commercial ventures into space, in late 2015 (aka basically NEXT YEAR).
According to one of the researchers, this is the first life science experiment ever performed in the cosmos. If the turnips and herbs can grow and thrive on the moon, it means we’re one step closer to cracking the code on (healthy) inter-planetary living.
Do you think it’s important for NASA to develop inter-planetary farming? Share your thoughts in the comments below or get in touch with the author on Twitter @SophBreene.
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