EcoTrack 11: Growing vegetables on the Moon

By Tara Hastings - bio | email

Posted by Dave Dykema - email

(WTOL) - One company is shooting for the Moon. Paragon Space Development unveiled its latest project, which could help mankind settle the final frontier.

The Lunar Oasis is a self-contained biosphere. Paragon is partnering with the company Odyssey Moon to deliver the biological greenhouse to the lunar surface within five years.

The gravity sensors are very acute and should grow plants perfectly normally on the moon. However, "We don't actually know, so before we send people to live there and grow plants there and food there that they're going to rely on, we better know they're actually going to grow," says Paragon's Jane Poynter.

Growing delicate flowers in the unfriendly environment of the moon has many challenges. The Lunar Oasis will have to protect the seedlings from the moon's harsh temperature swings from 225 degrees during the day to -240 at night. It also has to allow photosynthesis to occur.

"We have to put in carbon dioxide because...these plants use up all the carbon dioxide in this chamber in a minute," says Taber MacCullum. "We also have to figure out a way to get the oxygen out so it's exactly the opposite of a space suit for humans."

Challenges that Paragon is working to overcome in the future.

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