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China prepares to grow vegetables on Mars: State media

Published on Dec 4, 2012 1:16 PM
This is a view of the surface of Mars from the Mast Camera on NASA's Curiosity rover. Growing fresh vegetables on Mars and the moon are part of China's ambitious space programme that includes a long-term plan for a manned moon landing. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese astronauts are preparing to grow fresh vegetables on Mars and the moon after researchers successfully completed a preliminary test in Beijing, state media reported.

Four kinds of vegetables were grown in an "ecological life support system", a 300 cu m cabin which will allow astronauts to develop their own stocks of air, water and food while on space missions, Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

The system, which relies on plants and algae, is "expected to be used in extra-terrestrial bases on the moon or Mars", the report said.

Participants in the experiment could "harvest fresh vegetables for meals", Xinhua quoted Deng Yibing, a researcher at Beijing's Chinese Astronaut Research and Training Centre, as saying.

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