“The Selene Gardening Society,” anybody? Two corporations want to grow vegetables and flowers in a bell jar-like miniature laboratory greenhouse on the moon.
The “Lunar Oasis” has a certain poetry going for it. “Imagine a bright flower or a plant in a crystal clear growth chamber on the surface of the Moon, with the full Earth rising above the Moonscape behind it...” says Paragon Space Development founder and Biosphere 2 veteran Jane Poynter. Plants have never been grown in a fraction of Earth’s gravity.
Candidates for the experiment besides flowers include aquatic plants and also the unpoetic brassica family (which includes cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts). The garden could be sprouting as early as 2012.The project is a contender for the Google’s $30 million lunar robotics prize.
H.G. Wells, Pierre Boulle, Steve Erikson, and presumably Busby Berkeley must be smiling.
[Image: Grand Lunar (OK, U.S. Rep.) Gabrielle Giffords with lunar greenhouse prototype, Paragon Space Development]