Potatoes are often unable to exploit nutrients and soil moisture at depth within a soil profile.
While root growth occurs when soil temperatures are between 50 to 95˚F (10 to 35˚C), best, most active root development is at soil temperatures of between 59 and 68˚F (15 and 20˚C).Leaf (haulm) growth occurs at temperatures of between 44.6 to 86˚F (7 to 30˚C) , but optimal growth is at around 68 to 77˚F (20 to 25˚C). Optimum temperatures for stolon growth are similar.
Under these conditions, the potato plant will have short stolons and shoots. Longer day lengths delay tuber initiation and favor the growth of the stolon and shoot. High temperatures also reduce tuber formation. Late varieties seem to be more sensitive to long day lengths or high temperature conditions. Low nitrogen and high sucrose levels in the plant favor the formation of more tubers.
In view of these properties Chinese are encouraged to grow potatoes on the moon with mini eco system.
The technology that will allow men to grow potatoes on the moon is being developed by scientists from Chongqing University. The researchers made it clear though, that although the crop will be grown on the moon, they won't be planted in the lunar soil and will remain inside the sealed container until it is ready for consumption.
Global Space Exploration Conference in Beijing, this experiment will be led by researchers at Chongqing University.
The team hopes to determine whether potatoes can grow on the moon, and whether insects can survive, reported China Radio International .
Head designer of the project, Professor Xie Gengxin, said this will yield insights into the viability of a future human colony.
The "mini ecosystem" stands at merely 18cm, with a diametre of 16cm, and weighs 3kg.
One of issues researchers need to resolve is the vast differences between the environments of the earth and the moon. For example, the temperature on the moon's surface can be as low as -170 deg Celcius.
Researchers also told The Chongqing Morning Post that it could take a lot of energy to ensure the capsule keeps running in the harsh atmosphere on the moon.
The team said it hopes to make a live stream of the process available.
"We hope it will raise awareness on environmental issues and generate interest in space exploration," said Prof Xie.
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi