China takes its ambitious space exploration program to a brand new level after it announced its goal of cultivating fresh vegetables to provide their astronauts with sufficient food on Mars and the Moon.
China said it has already completed its initial test in Beijing this week and it so far yields positive result. According to Chinese media, four kinds of vegetables were grown in a 300 cubic meter ecological support system, which enables astronauts to produce their own supply of air, water and food during long space missions.
The ecological support system will depend on plants and different kinds of oxygen-producing algae. These vegetation will be used in China’s extraterrestrial bases likely on the Moon and perhaps on the Red Planet.
Beijing’s Chinese Astronaut Research and Training Centre research Deng Yibing said the vegetables inside the cabin are guaranteed fresh and healthy, participants could event harvest vegetables for their meals.
“Chinese astronauts may get fresh vegetables and oxygen supplies by gardening in extra-terrestrial bases in the future,” the report said, adding that the experiment was the first of its kind in China.
China has already scheduled an exploratory mission to the Moon next year, leading up to launching its first manned vehicle to the moon. The Asian powerhouse has been making key steps in attaining superiority in space exploration, which has symbolically been relinquished by the United States after the retirement of its shuttle mission and the tightening of budget for NASA.
According to reports, China is aiming to become the first nation since the United States in 1972 to land a man on the moon. Moreover, the Chinese mission is also planning to expand its political influence in the space by establishing a branch of its ruling Communist Party on the moon.
“If we establish a party branch in space, it would also be the ‘highest’ of its kind in the world,” Xinhua quoted Mr Yang as saying.