Nov 22, 2013 11:38 AM EST
NASA To 'Grow Where No Man Has Grown Before,' On The Moon
A team at National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center plans to embark on a mission to "boldly grow where no man has grown before" as soon as 2015, Forbes reported.
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With the help on a robot, thousands of children and customized GoPro cameras, The Lunar Plant Growth Habitat team, a group of NASA scientists, will attempt to make history by growing plants on the moon, according to Forbes.
"Plant growth will be an important part of space exploration in the future as NASA plans for long-duration missions to the moon," according to NASA's website. "NASA scientists anticipate that astronauts may be able to grow plants on the moon, and the plants could be used to supplement meals."
NASA scientists, contractors, students and volunteers will try to grow an Arabidopsis, basil, sunflowers, and turnips in coffee-can-sized aluminum cylinders that will serve as plant habitats. The containers will also be packed to the brim with cameras, sensors, and electronics that will allow the team to receive image broadcasts of the plants as they grow.
The success of the experiment will require the assistance of schools and citizen scientists.
"In a brilliant mix of creativity and frugality," NASA will send schools their own set of habitats so they can also grow the same plants that are being sent to the moon.
Every experiment needs a control group, and instead of spending the money to duplicate the experiment multiple times, they can crowdsource it. By collecting the data from thousands of experiments performed by schools and citizen scientists, they can gain valuable insights in an entirely new way.
"Thanks to the rapid advances in consumer electronics over the last few years, parts that would have once cost millions of dollars now cost just hundreds" Forbes explained.
NASA doesn't have to spend tens of millions of dollars or wait years for the next mission, making this project a low-cost one.
According to Forbes, for this project to be successfully, the habitats will have to regulate their own temperature, water intake and power supply "in order to brave the harsh lunar climate."
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If successful, the project will be the first time humans have ever brought life to another planetary body. This endeavor is slated make groundbreaking contribution to the understanding of biology, agriculture and life on other worlds.