Rice with everything in the lunar café
点击量： 时间：2017-06-18 06:01:04
By Kurt Kleiner and Michael Fitzpatrick THE Japanese are already planning menus for future visitors to the Moon. But life-support specialists say that lunar agriculture won’t necessarily be any easier because of the discovery of water. “From a life-support standpoint, we’d still have to recycle the water,” says Don Henniger of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “But the lunar water could give us more flexibility while we get the systems up and running.” Guy Fogleman, leader of the advanced human systems technology programme at NASA’s headquarters in Washington DC, suspects that it may still be easier to irrigate lunar crops with water shipped from Earth. “The level of importance of this discovery for life support is difficult to say,” he says. Meanwhile, as part of a government-sponsored plan to develop technology for activities on the Moon’s surface, Japanese researchers have produced mature rice in a record 100 days. They say the rice could supply lunar colonies with three harvests a year. Normally, the rice variety known as mutsu-homare takes 160 days to mature. Koji Otsubo and his colleagues at the Institute for Environmental Science in Rokkashomura speeded up the process by finding the best growing conditions. “By controlling temperature, light and carbon dioxide density we were able to raise the rice’s starch production,” says Otsubo. “We suppose the facility could be used on a lunar base.” The taste is not quite up to the standards of normal rice, Otsubo admits. “But as it will be growing on the Moon, who can complain?