Gardening in outer space is going to be tough

gardening on mars
© SergeyDV

People are talking about moving to the moon and Mars, but what is everyone going to eat?

There is something about the human mentality that seems to defy the idea of biological imperatives. You'd think protecting one's habitat would rank pretty high on a species' list of how to ensure survival, right? And then here we are ... wrecking it all with abandon.

As we watch the ecosystems of our home orb crumbling under the pressure of humankind's baffling disregard for it all, people are looking at colonizing brand new shiny planets and satellites on which to start again. As Stephen Hawking put it: “We are running out of space, and the only place we can go to are other worlds ... Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth.” He thought that we should be aiming to live on the moon in 30 years.

Of course the first thing is this brilliant idea: Why not just try to make an effort not to wreck Earth in the first place?

And another thing: What are we gonna eat on the moon, or on the seven-month trip to Mars; or once we get there, what are we going to actually eat on Mars? Because as it turns out, farming in space isn't going to be easy.

Now I don't know if the greenhouse site, The Greenhouse People, is working on any Mars-friendly greenhouses; but they did come up with the summary below showing the challenges involved in feeding space explorers. I mean, a person can not live on astronaut ice cream alone. The site notes:

"To survive both the trip and settle a new planet there’s no escaping the fact that the trip will need food and lots of it. Realistically, any long-duration journeys such as a trip to Mars or setting up colonies on the moon would require a bio-regenerative life support system. Such a system would enable us to grow our own food and recycle carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen and to be truly self-sufficient on a new planet."

Ahh, if only it were that easy. Here's what we're looking at.

It really drives home the point that we are creatures of this planet; and our entire evolution has been intricately entwined with all of the other organisms here. We aren't built to live elsewhere, nor are the plants on which we depend on for survival. Call me a killjoy if you want, but to spend all of this time and effort trying to figure out how to escape our scorched Earth – rather than trying to repair it while we still can – seems like the ultimate folly.

Gardening in outer space is going to be tough
People are talking about moving to the moon and Mars, but what is everyone going to eat?

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