Lunar Living: China sending potatoes, weeds along with humans to the moon

If you think going to the moon was the news of yesteryears and Mars is the new space destination, you couldn't be wrong. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has given directions to the American space agency NASA to head back to the moon, again.

Apart from that, several other countries across the world are currently eyeing earth's celestial companion; among which China is one of the most promising contenders.

The People's Republic had initiated the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP), back in 2007 with the mission of mapping the moon. The country bumped up its mission to land on the moon in 2013 and now, it aims to send a crewed spacecraft to the lunar surface.

However, China's plan is a tad bit different this year. Along with human astronauts, some other earthlings will also reach for our one and only natural satellite and they are the eggs of silkworms, a tiny weed that grows across the streets, named Arabidopsis (rockcress), and potato plants. These living things are expected to land on the moon by the end of this year. Experts hope that, once they reach the lunar surface, they will start to release carbon dioxide and oxygen.

"The container will send potatoes, Arabidopsis seeds and silkworm eggs to the surface of the Moon. The eggs will hatch into silkworms, which can produce carbon dioxide, while the potatoes and seeds emit oxygen through photosynthesis. Together, they can establish a simple ecosystem on the Moon," the chief designer of the container, which would be carrying these things to the moon, Zhang Yuanxun told the Chongqing Morning Post, reported the China Daily.

It may sound like a crazy idea to the commoners; however, it might actually prove to become a useful way of testing whether or not humans would be able to survive on the moon if we can colonize it.

Also Read: SpaceX or Boeing - who'll send humans to space first?

As per the report, representatives from, as many as, 29 Chinese Universities were involved in creating the final design of the container. It consists of more than 100 types of components. The container's weight is 3 kilograms and it is 18 centimeters long.

This article was first published on January 20, 2018