Gardening on the Moon

Discuss

27 Responses to “Gardening on the Moon”

  1. Hang on, isn’t moon dust pure poison?

  2. bcsizemo says:

    Doesn’t hydroponics kind of make this a moot point?
    I mean it’s not like the moon could ever be terraformed to a point to grow things without a structure surrounding them.

    • waetherman says:

      Hydroponics isn’t just water – it requires nutrient solutions with elements like magnesium, calcium, nitrate, sulfate, etc. and I think there are some things that grow better in a growth medium. Perhaps moon dirt adds some of those nutrients and could be a good growth medium too, and that way they wouldn’t have to haul cases of Botanicare and bags of Hydroton up.

      It’s good to know that the film got it wrong and that moon dust doesn’t actually make things grow better – I was already envisioning some poor Sam Bell-like shlub up there having to send bags of soil down on a regular basis.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        My understanding of hydroponics was that the only important rule was not to assign that chore to Dr. Smith if you were planning on eating this week.

  3. tyger11 says:

    I thought I had read things about the dust being so fine that they were worried it would get in your lungs and never come out. If that’s the case, then I think it unlikely we’ll be growing anything in lunar soil unless it’s not a tuber, despite Heinlein’s beautiful The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

    Hydroponics is the answer. Mine the Moon for ice and all you’ll need to bring are the necessary nutrient addditions, plus the right light.

    • Glen Able says:

       I can’t help feeling there must be alternative inhospitable places full of crappy rocks that are slightly more accessible than the moon.  Australia perhaps?

      • malindrome says:

        Or the Gobi desert? Or Antarctica? Or the Marianas Trench?  Basically anywhere on this planet is more accessible than the moon, and MUCH cheaper to ship bulk items (we’re talking about mining, right?).

        • tyger11 says:

          I think the point of farming on the Moon is to feed people who need/want to be on the Moon, not because it’s cheaper or better to bring food back from the Moon.

          • malindrome says:

            Historically, colonization has only succeeded when there was an economic rationale.  There may be a handful of billionaire space tourists who will be willing to spring for a trip to the moon, but until someone figures out an economic justification for a colony (mining is the usual one, but please), humans are not going to settle there.

  4. Joe Maynard says:

    I would expect that the increased growth of plants grown with a sprinkling of moon dust is because the lunar dust basically acts as an iron supplement and oxidizes the plant’s soil, basically turning the ammonia in the soil into fertilizer (nitrites)

  5. vonbobo says:

    “but they did grow and they did survive (even without any added fertilizer)”
    … right up until Monsanto buys the data.

  6. haineux says:

    Maggie, I think you missed a study, namely: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Effect_of_Gamma_Rays_on_Man-in-the-Moon_Marigolds

  7. It’s not really “Soil,” but Regolith, a layer of rock dust created by meteorite strikes, rocks cracked by heating & cooling, and radiation decomposed rock.

    • Beanolini says:

      Indeed. Every time I read ‘lunar soil’ my inner pedologist has an urge to scream ‘has it undergone three distinct soil/water/gravity processes? Well? Has it?’

  8. rachel612 says:

    Well, this is why we need to go back.  Because clearly we need more moon dirt to experiment with.

  9. Jardine says:

    Is that Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica) in the freeze frame? He really is a Cylon!

  10. pjcamp says:

    Moon tobacco? What a great idea for a story! Turn the Moon into the Earth’s smoking area.

  11. Beanolini says:

    There’s no indication that the marigolds did better than those grown in real dirt, but they did grow and they did survive (even without any added fertilizer)

    They did far worse, in fact- until bacteria were added. And as almost all plants grow better with symbiotic fungi, choice of microflora could be as important as availability of chemical nutrients.

  12. phalkon11 says:

    Moon material isn’t magic pixie dust that you can sprinkle on things to make them awesome?? Shocking.

  13. smallteam says:

    Silent Running (1972) – IMDb
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067756/

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