Nasa hopes to put a garden on the moon

December 05, 2013 - 6:22:16 am
Washington: Neil Armstrong may have made a giant leap forward for mankind when he landed on the moon over 40 years ago, but scientists at Nasa’s Ames Research Center in are looking out for plantkind. The Lunar Plant Growth Habitat project is hoping to put some basil, flowers and turnips on the moon in late 2015.

“We are constructing a small technology demonstration unit to study germination of plants in lunar gravity and radiation on the moon,” said Nasa in a statement on the project’s website. “This will be the first life-sciences experiment on another world.”

Nasa is planning to hitch a ride to the moon with one of the private spacecraft companies currently competing for Google’s Lunar X Prize. The competition is awarding more than $40m in prize money to any company that can successfully land on the moon.

Nasa originally said that it was looking to partner with Moon Express, one of the companies competing for the Lunar X Prize. 

The lunar garden won’t resemble your backyard flowerbed or the planters hanging on your windowsill. When the garden lands on the moon, it will automatically trigger a small reservoir to squirt water on nutrient-rich filter paper. The dissolved nutrients will trickle down to the seeds, prompting the seeds to start growing. Nasa will photograph the seeds’ progress to see what happens to the plants as they grow with less gravity and increased radiation. Agencies
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