China Will Start Growing Potatoes on the Moon Next Year

Scientists in China will attempt to create a “mini ecosystem” consisting of insects and potatoes in the moon next year.

The project, discussed at the recent Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX 2017) in Beijing, is one of several missions that make up the country’s lunar exploration program.

Researchers at Chongqing University will make the ecosystem, which will be housed in a cylinder measuring 18 cm in height and 16 cm in width. It will be transported along the Chang’e-4 mission due to launch next year, the Chongqing Morning Post reported.

Estimated to weigh three kilograms (6.6 lb), the ecosystem will initially contain silkworm eggs and potato seeds, which are to be incubated.

Zhang Yuanxun, model designer, expects that the silkworms will hatch to give the potatoes carbon dioxide while the latter returns oxygen.

Ultimately, the goal is to find out whether the insects and potatoes can survive and grow on the lunar surface, which could be promising for future human inhabitants.

The project, now being developed by researchers from 28 universities, was selected from 257 experimental ideas raised for the lunar exploration program, China Radio International noted.

The good news is, everyone will be in the loop. Xie Gengxin, the project’s chief designer, told the Global Times:

“We will livestream the development of plants and insects on lunar surface to the whole world.”

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