One day, moon colonists may be growing their own food on the moon using a method recently developed by a team of researchers in Ukraine.
The team says that marigolds could be grown on the moon, and they hope to do it around 2015. Working with the European Space Agency (ESA), the researchers have demonstrated that marigolds can be grown in crushed rock, without earth soil or its nutrients - similar to the moon's surface.
Researchers Bernard Foing of the ESA, along with Natasha Kozyrovska and Iryna Zaetz from the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev, planted the marigolds in a crushed rock called anorthosite, which is similar to lunar soil, or regolith.
To fertilize the crops, the researchers used different types of bacteria to leach elements from the rocks, such as potassium, which the plants needed. With the bacteria, there was no need for plant food. However, if grown on the moon, the plants would still require an enclosed artificial atmosphere, as well as algae to balance out the "lunar ecosystem."
Using a similar method, the researchers think that other hardy plants could also be grown, such as tulips, cabbages, and the weed called Arabidopsis.
The team hopes to test their method on the moon in the ESA's proposed moon mission called Moon Next. The mission would likely deploy a rover on the moon around 2015.
via: The Telegraph