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Growing veggies on Mars a Goal For Chinese Biodome

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One of the major hurdles to sending humans to Mars is their pesky predilection for eating. The amount of food needed for astronauts during a months-long trip to Mars and back would weight too much to make such a mission feasible. The solution is for astronauts to take a sustainable habitat with them. That or keep sending rover emissaries that don’t need food.

The state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua this week revealed that China’s space program is working toward being able to grow food on hypothetical extraterrestrial bases in places such as the moon or on Mars.

According to the report, the Chinese Astronaut Research and Training Center (CARTC) has just completed a lab experiment that attempted to balance oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water production between plants and humans in a closed environment. Two participants (presumably not these guys) were sealed in a 300 cubic meter cabin designed to provide a sustainable supply of air, water, and food. During the experiment, the participants were able to pick from four different fresh vegetables for meals.

According to Deng Yibing, deputy director of CARTC, the experiment is unique in China and is part of the country’s long-term goals for it’s manned space program. It is China’s third generation life support system, which Xinhua referred to as a “controlled ecological life support system” (CELSS).

Earlier this week, NASA announced it’s plans for Mars exploration for the next seven years, which include a new Mars rover to be launched in 2020. Part of the focus during NASA’s announcement was how the new rover design will be based on the current new Mars rover, Curiosity, to save money. Considering NASA’s dwindling share of the U.S. budget in the past decade and the Chinese space program’s huge resources, it’s not inconceivable that China will send a human to Mars before NASA can realize President Obama’s challenge to do so by the 2030s.

(via Discovery)

Growing veggies on Mars a Goal For Chinese Biodome
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  • AF

    I think it won’t work. It would take too long to have person or robot go back and forth to harvest crops before they become too ripe, and there won’t be anywhere to store already harvested crops, because no battery could last that long and there is no electricity.

    • Hamsta

      So what did people on earth do before electricity and refrigerators?

    • James

      A battery? Really? Solar power or nuclear power (you know same kind that has been used to power the voyager probes for 30ish years). Plus veggies dont have to be refrigerated. And if you read the arcticle you would see that they will be living in an enclosed environment so they could eat them as they grow

  • Lynn

    AF dont be obtuse. ( shakes head) the food is to be eaten on the planet by astronauts already the …article.says two guys. Lol.

  • Clyde

    Old fashioned “can do, will do” spirit would help. You know, like.going to the moon.

  • JOE

    why the hell do people want to go to a grey dead planet like the moon? no blue sky,no air,can’t realy go outside without heavy space suit,no green no life,and one meteor hits the bio dome and you’re dead in seconds! i’ll take my chances here thank you!

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