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Space Science

A Scientist Is Growing Asparagus In Meteorites To Prepare Us For Space Farming 59

Jason Koebler writes: For those of us without a green thumb, growing even the most hardy plants in perfect conditions can seem impossible. How about trying to grow plants on a meteorite? Well, at least one scientist is doing it, with moderate levels of success. "People have been talking about terraforming, but what I'm trying to do is give some concrete evidence that it's possible to do this, that it's possible to grow in extraterrestrial materials," Michael Mautner, one of the world's only "astroecologists" said. "What I've found is that a range of microorganisms—bacteria, fungi, and even asparagus and potato plants—can survive with the nutrients that are in extraterrestrial materials."
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A Scientist Is Growing Asparagus In Meteorites To Prepare Us For Space Farming

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  • Re:cool hobby, bro (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @06:44PM (#47217671)

    Just like that idiot who discovered penicillin. What a waste of time, he should have been doing something important like playing croquet with the nobility. Nobody remembers them either, but at least he could have caught a few dozen varieties of syphilis while he was at it.

  • Re:Dry rocks 'r us (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @06:52PM (#47217745)
    Yes, but one can test for heavy metals and other toxic substances. He's just establishing a baseline. If it works at all on this very small scale then it's evidence that greater (ie, more expensive) trials may be worthwhile.

    The ideas of robotic missions that land on asteroids could include an experiment that attempts to set up some grow chambers pressed against the asteroid, to see if anything can be made to grow directly on one. But, they'd only accept the proposal to try it once it's been demonstrated in a lesser capacity.
  • by Jmc23 ( 2353706 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @06:53PM (#47217753) Journal
    Sure making some seed bombs and throwing them at planets might work, but it will take a long time.

    Realistically, Mars or the moon is where we'd be going first. An aquaponics setup would make the most logical sense for a starter colony to provide fish, oxygen and fuel(algae), radiation protection, recycling of urine, etc... With composting of human fecal matter through concentrated solar to produce biochar and hot water. Then usage of dust, pebbles, rocks, from digging out habitats, some for concrete, some for drainage, some for soil(biochar and compost) amendment.

    All of which is doable right now and since life tends to always find a way, you'll get your specialized bacteria soon enough.

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