Extraterrestrial basil? Maybe so. In a couple of years, NASA hopes to have terrestrial plants growing on the surface of our moon in order to study the viability of agriculture there. In the long term, it may be a step toward understanding our chances of successfully colonizing celestial bodies beyond Earth.
Before you ask how they plan to do this, though, we’re not just dusting the surface of the moon with seeds. Instead, specially-contained growth environments will be sent on a commercial spacecraft known as the Moon Express lander, mocked up in CG above. With their own growth medium and water reservoir, scientists will monitor the plants’ progress for around a week in hopes of understanding how radiation and reduced gravity on the lunar surface can impact vegetation.
Giant leap? Maybe not quite yet. But it’s certainly a step in the right direction—the direction where I get to live comfortably on Mars with a quaint greenhouse. Click through for the full story. —MN