67 votes

Why did the Chinese send flies and plants to the far side of the moon?

Right now, almost 100% of existing research on growth in gravity fields is basically at 0g (ISS/Mir/Skylab/whatever) or 1g. There are a lot of questions of what happens at 1/6g or 2/3g? No good ...
geoffc's user avatar
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20 votes
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Using bamboo as space construction material

This is a remarkably interesting exchange. I would like to add a few concerns (as an engineer, I go straight for the problems)... Full culm bamboo is a remarkably inefficient product to transport and ...
bambooprof's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

How many plants would be needed to produce oxygen enough for 20 humans?

This article addresses much the same question. The quick summary is about 300 to 500 typical domestic houseplants per person, with significant caveats, more like 700 to be safe. So 6-14 thousand such ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
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15 votes
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How deep a valley or trench would be needed on Mars to provide the same atmospheric pressure as 6 km above sea level on Earth?

Mars' atmosphere scale height is, depending on who you ask, 10.8 to 11.1 km. Pressure at the bottom of Hellas Planitia: 1.16 kPa Earth sea level: 101.3 kPa Earth 6km altitude: ~50 kPa. So we need ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
13 votes

Agriculture on an exoplanet

Ignoring the infrared radiation aspect of your question, what you are describing is a situation not too dissimilar to what exists in many parts of Australia. The extreme degree of weathering that has ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 13.1k
12 votes
Accepted

Is there any reason Cyanobacteria or Lichens can't survive on Mars?

We don't really know. A study from 2012 suggests that lichens and cyanobacteria could indeed survive the "obvious" perils of Mars, including radiation, low pressure, and temperatures dropping as low ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
  • 8,505
11 votes
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Can plants thrive without atmospheric nitrogen?

Despite the fact that on Earth, nitrogen is the most abundant element in the atmosphere, plants do not get their nitrogen from the air - it is just too hard to get it. A plant would need to expend ...
Rory Alsop's user avatar
  • 13.6k
11 votes

Removing perchlorate from Mars surface soil

Perchlorate contamination is a problem on Earth. Essentially, there is a series of water treatments and bioremediation, the process of using biological systems to fix the problem. Here is a detailed ...
Chris B. Behrens's user avatar
11 votes

Why did the Chinese send flies and plants to the far side of the moon?

They did it for propaganda or pride mostly. What sprouted quickly died because it froze. They did not have a method to protect the biosphere from the temperature swings. This is what they expected ...
Diznaster's user avatar
  • 111
9 votes

Removing perchlorate from Mars surface soil

Apart from perchlorate treatment mentioned in @Chris's answer, there are some other methods which could be able to remove the perchlorate from the martian soil: Rinsing the soil with water. ...
Nilay Ghosh's user avatar
  • 1,024
8 votes

Agriculture on an exoplanet

In general space based plants will probably be hydroponics so most likely initial agriculture will be indoors in vertical farms. Possibly using mechanically harvested/processed materials to carefully ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Where is that lunar-grown cotton seed sprout?

The announcement was first made by the vice principle of Chongqing University (the primary designer of the growth module) on the 15th of January and you can find the original article summary from ...
AlphaD's user avatar
  • 276
7 votes
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Growing Mars crops in sunlight vs LEDs

Plants can only use a finite amount of light, and are adapted to growth under less than ideal growing conditions...even on Earth, they experience cloudy days, shade from other plants, etc. Many crop ...
Christopher James Huff's user avatar
6 votes

How many plants would be needed to produce oxygen enough for 20 humans?

Plants produce oxygen by photosynthesis, where they convert light and CO2 into sugars which they can use to grow. Luckly for us, the oxygen is a waste stream which we can use. $${{6\ CO_{2}+6H_{2}O+...
Martini's user avatar
  • 559
6 votes

Would it be feasible to use natural light to grow plants on Mars?

Yes. While Mars only receives about half of the light that Earth does, it doesn't have clouds or other similar items to deal with. Assuming you can have a dome that is very clear, you should have ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
6 votes

Cubic meters of martian greenhouse required

This research I was involved in may help answer your question. The project outlined below used algae, which is sort of a plant, in a bioreactor. The research was concerned with producing oxygen, not ...
Woody's user avatar
  • 21.6k
5 votes

Would it be feasible to use natural light to grow plants on Mars?

Roughly speaking Mars gets between 1/2 and 1/3 the light that Earth gets (depending on time of year) meaning you could probably grow plans that handle full shade on earth pretty well but most crop ...
Evan Steinbrenner's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Agriculture on an exoplanet

There are a lot of specific factors that would be relevant for answering this. Here are a few: What is the composition of the planet's atmosphere? Is there any soil/regolith and what is it made of? ...
N. Virgo's user avatar
  • 329
4 votes

How could we grow plants on mars?

This question is rather broad so I will give a broad answer. Plants on Mars will require similar things to plants growing on Earth. All of these things: Sufficient Light Appropriate dark periods* ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 9,333
4 votes
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Can a semipermeable greenhouse be used to extract CO2 from the Martian atmosphere and help provide oxygen to a colony without using a pump?

Osmosis against a total pressure gradient is absolutely a 'thing'. Plants and animals exploit this and active transport to move fluids around and they can definitely create pressure gradients. ...
ANone's user avatar
  • 3,432
3 votes
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Can a symbiosis be sustained between plants and 1 person on Mars?

You might be interested in Biosphere 2 or other Artificial ecosystems, which attempt to answer this. While the results were impressive closure experiments set world records in closed ecological ...
Suma's user avatar
  • 237
2 votes

Using bamboo as space construction material

Whilst you focus on external and structural elements, in colonisation there are many internal structures and elements required. From forks and knives (or more efficient chopsticks), spoons, plates, ...
Darren Strengers's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Mars greenhouse accessibility

The question regarding the lowest pressure required for plant growth was asked on the biology stack exchange The answer given there reports an experiment where vascular plants seemed to be at about ...
Mike H's user avatar
  • 664
2 votes

Have there been at least continuous periods of plants growing on the ISS?

Summary: There were at least 9 years and 6 months of continuous plant growth on the ISS, so the answer is yes if you accept a +/- 6 month margin of error. The first plant growth experiment hosted on ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
2 votes

Can plants grow in microgravity?

Since this question was originally asked, there have been quite a few experiments performed on the ISS studying plant growth: VEGGIE Facility (VEG-03,VEG-04,VEG-05) Dual locker payload facility ...
Doresoom's user avatar
  • 1,754
2 votes

Would it be feasible to use natural light to grow plants on Mars?

There's some current scientific interest in figuring out photosynthesis in resource-short environments, such as low light. A recent example is the paper "Photochemistry beyond the red limit in ...
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
  • 12.7k
2 votes

How many plants would be needed to produce oxygen enough for 20 humans?

A mature tree consumes 48 pounds (22 kg) of $CO_2$ per year.[1] The 22 kg of $CO_2$ is made of $\frac{\text{32 g $O_2$ per 1 mole}}{\text{44 g $CO_2$ per 1 mole}} * \text{22 kg $CO_2$} = \text{16 kg $...
Jonathan's user avatar
2 votes

Would it be feasible to use natural light to grow plants on Mars?

In hot sunny climates like Australia vegetables are often grown under shade cloth in the 30-50% range (that is 30-50% of sunlight blocked) - this is actually comparable with the sunlight available on ...
Blake Walsh's user avatar
  • 4,221

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