Moon Gardens

We put a man on the moon exactly 42 years ago. When the Eagle made its historic lunar landing on July 21st, 1969 and Neil Armstrong took that one small step that was hailed as a giant leap for mankind, many believed that life on the moon would one day be possible. While that hasn’t exactly come to pass, there are those who haven’t stopped dreaming about what a lunar lifestyle would entail. They fantasise about homes with adjustable gravity control, perhaps, or a moon buggy taxi service. Some even imagine planting seeds and tending gardens in the middle of a crater. Believe it or not, there are “lunar greenhouses” in places like Arizona and Antarctica where scientists have been developing prototype moon gardens, in the event that humans ever succeed in colonising the moon. Last year, NASA announced that there was evidence that lunar soil is rich in useful materials, and could even hold enough water to help sustain human life. At the University of Arizona in Tucson, a special windowless laboratory has been set up, designed and built as a prototype moon garden with water-cooled sodium vapour lamps providing artificial sunshine, while plants are nourished by a nutrient-rich broth. Researchers at the university explain that the small, experimental garden currently holds 100 kg of wet plant material, but it consumes carbon dioxide, releases oxygen and produces about 50 litres of drinkable water everyday. In short, the system recycles everything. Not a bad solution to an environment largely lacking in natural resources. Imagine.   Text: Bambina Olivares Wise Images courtesy of and Cronkite News.