COLLATERALIZING SPACE INCLUDES AGRIBUSINESS…WELL, MAYBE ...December 7, 2013
It should come as no surprise that the collateralization of space also includes the possibility of increasing agricultural production by literally turning our celestial neighbors into farms. And the first target is.... the Moon:
Obviously we're a long way off from the idea of the Moon(or anywhere else), functioning as a place for agricultural production.
Note that the article mentions two things that are important flaws to the experiment. First, the seedlings will not be actually planted in lunar soil, nor will there be enough air in the container for the plants to survive much longer than five days (plants, unlike animals, breathe carbon dioxide, and give off oxygen as their waste exhalation). The experiment is thus merely to determine any possible radioactive effects on plants.
So as an experiment, I have my doubts about both the practicality and expense incurred, for such little result. For example, why has no one (that we know of) designed a lunar lander that could scoop up lunar soil, deposit enough inside a container, fill it with CO2, and then plant seeds in the container, water then, and observe the results by camera and broadcast them back to earth? Why not test the whole shebang, in other words, from lunar soil nutrients to radioactive effects and lunar gravity? Indeed, though my memory may be faulty here, I do recall experiments where plants were planted either in lunar soil brought back during the Apollo missions, or in special "soil" designed to resemble selenian soil. But nothing will suffice, ultimately, than a lunar test itself. So again, why bother with half measures like the above?
Indeed, with all the talk about capturing asteroids and parking them in lunar orbit so that they can be mined, this implies a permanent human presence there, and that presence will require a food supply, which could possibly simply be grown there rather than imported from Earth, using any "sub-selenian" water as may be found there. So again, why the half measure? Indeed, one would think that design, rather, would be underway for a "Lunar Plant Experimental Probe," i.e., a dedicated "greenhouse" probe designed to land, scoop, plant, water, and observe, rather than the half measure being described here. Either the description is incomplete, or... it may already have been done, privately, covertly, and secretly.
See you on the flip side.