Paging Mark Watney! China to Send Potato Seeds to Moon

Matt Damon as astronaut Mark Watney in “The Martian.”

While KFC prepares to send a Zinger chicken sandwich into Outer Space AdjacentTM, China has much bigger ambitions for its Chang’e-4 lunar lander.

Research teams with Chongqing University have developed an 18 cm high, 3 kg aluminium alloy mini-ecosystem which will incubate the biological payloads.

“The container will send potatoes, arabidopsis seeds and silkworm eggs to the surface of the Moon. The eggs will hatch into silkworms, which can produce carbon dioxide, while the potatoes and seeds emit oxygen through photosynthesis,” Zhang Yuanxun, chief designer of the container, told the Chongqing Morning Post.

Temperature control and energy supply are the biggest challenges, People’s Daily quotes Zhang as saying.

The experiment will be livestreamed and is expected to contribute to research towards establishing future lunar habitats.

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  • JamesG

    I wonder if the choice of potato was an intentional homage to The Martian?

  • duheagle

    Or maybe the Chinese heard about the KFC chicken sandwich thing and figured to be able to supply fries to go with that once it can actually get to space for real.

  • JamesG

    And I guess they will all make insitu derived milkshakes from the cow in lunar orbit.