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Showing results for tags 'plants'.
Could lichen and moss survive on Mars? I will mainly use moss, because i like it better. I suppose they could, if they were provided ample amounts of oxygen. Using a system called MMOWS*, you could make small amounts of oxygen, and release it under it. I assume that the moss could trap the oxygen, and keep it alive. It would probably be one of the experiments carried on a manned mars mission. It could hypothetically be used as food, but I believe that wouldn't be the best idea, as some harmful chemicals from the soil might have leeched into it. You would also need to water it, but you could put that through the same oxygen supplying network. Alternatively, they could be made chemosynthetic**, and dumped on some mineral deposit. This probably wouldn't work very well, as I believe that the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere would harm the plant. Being both photosynthetic and chemosynthetic could be beneficial though. I am certainly not a expert on any of this, so please tell me if I am wrong.
So NASA announced that they're harvesting the Zinnias that astronaut Scott Kelly successfully grew on the ISS, and they also had a really cool backgrounder article on the story of plant-growing on the ISS that I liked because I could see the direct implications for future space missions. Apparently there have been other plants and flowers in space including one ISS 'naut's personal project where he grew them out of ziplock sandwich bags, as well as the batches of cabbage that Kelly and crew were able to eat a couple months ago. The plan is ultimately to grow tomatoes on the ISS by 2017. One of the comments in the articles that I found really interesting was that, in addition to being a dietary supplement, they're hoping that having plants and a zero-g garden will be good for the crew's mental health. My questions are: a)How significant an achievement are these Zinnias compared to the cabbage and the tomatoes? I wonder why they didn't just start with tomatoes, given everything else that they've grown? b)What kind of roles do you see plants serving on long-duration flights (i.e to Mars)? Just a small hobby for the 'nauts? Or a significant dietary supplement? Or large enough to function as life support food and CO2 scrubbing? c)Given that all of our food is (currently) grown under gravity on earth, what kind of traits should we change in the plants (DNA-engineering?) so they can flourish in zero-G? I know humans have a number of cardio and skeletal issues that hinders long-term spaceflight, do plants like tomatoes have any equivalent major weaknesses? (I figured this topic would have been covered before, but I didn't turn up anything when I searched. If the general topic is a duplicate, focus on the Scott Kelly ISS mission part!)