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我们能够在火星上种植土豆吗?

2017-03-21

科学大众(中学) 2017年2期
关键词:土豆火星

In the Hollywood science fiction movie"The Martian", the astronaut stranded on the Red Planet lives on potatoes he grows there for more than 500 days while awaiting rescue.

But will potatoes really grow on Mars one day? Although humans havent set foot on Mars, astronauts have tasted lettuce grown on the International Space Station.

On Tiangong-2, Chinas first space lab which was launched in September, an experiment is underway to grow rice and Arabidopsis thaliana.

Chinese scientists hope the plants will go through the whole cycle, from seed to seed.

Scientists are eager to know whether plants in space still blossom according to an Earth-based cycle, and yield the same seeds.

"We want to study the growth rhythm and the flowering of plants in micro-gravity conditions," says Zheng Huiqiong, chief scientist in charge of plant research on Tiangong-2, and a researcher with the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

"So far, the plants on Tiangong-2 have been growing well. Some Arabidopsis thaliana are blooming, and the rice is about 10 centimeters tall," Zheng says.

"We cannot avoid the issue of growing crops and vegetables, if we want to live on Mars. Only when we grow plants well in space, can we go deeper into space," Zheng says.

"If we can conduct research on Mars, potatoes are a good choice. We could also try growing tomatoes, cucumbers, rice and wheat," Zheng says.

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