Growing Vegetable On Mars? China Prepares Ecosytem On Mars And Moon

By Danny Choy on December 7, 2012 5:52 PM EST

Martian Greenhouse
Illustration of Martian greenhouse during the day with light opening (Photo: NASA)

Our coverage over NASA's Curiosity Rover has created an enormous blind spot over tests currently conducted over at the space program in China. Earlier this Monday, the China news outlet Xinhua Net announced a test in Beijing involving an isolated 300 cubic meter "ecological life support system."

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An experiment supported by German scientists, the ambitious trial run involved a total of four types of vegetable crops to grow while two scientists lived inside to perform the trial. The statement from China did not indicate exactly how long the duration of the test was or how healthy the test subjects were when they emerged from the experiment.

Self-sustaining greenhouses have been researched for decades - what makes this one so special? According to sources familiar with the project, the ecosystems are a part of a grand scheme that will not only allow a water and oxygen regenerating life-dome on the surface of the moon and planet Mars, but will also provide edible fresh fruit and vegetables for cultivation.

The latest development raises some significant implications on the future of space. First, activity in China reveal just how far technology has advanced for the rising global superpower. Secondly, China's new projects confirm that NASA scientists are not the only ones considering future habitation on Mars. Third, a self sustaining ecosystem that also offers cultivation of fresh produce accelerates the possibility of an extraterrestrial colony.

This ambitious project stands to change our world, and other worlds, as we know it and will undoubtedly serve as the highlight of a generation should the continued research and the final missions prove successful. However, we still have a long way to go before actually establishing a self-sustaining extraterrestrial ecosystem.

First, China is expected to launch its first exploratory craft onto the moon next year. The exploratory craft will not be manned but it will be a stepping stone towards a future manned moon landing. China has not provided an approximate time frame for the manned mission but it is slated to become only the second nation to land a man on the moon. The first nation, of course, is the United States. A colossal feat, the last manned U.S. mission to the moon was in 1972, exactly 40 years ago.

As China's space program gets more serious, Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut, said last month that Chinese astronauts may even start a branch of China's ruling Communist Party in space. Yang stated in an interview with Xinhua Net, "If we establish a party branch in space, it would also be the 'highest' of its kind in the world."

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