Will China be growing vegetables on Mars ?

Apollo Space China Astronauts

China has developed an 'ecological life support system' to grow food during off world space missions.

The 300 cubic metre cabin has been tested in Beijing and will allow astronauts to grow their own stocks of food, water and oxygen. The technology is expected to be deployed for use in future bases on the moon and Mars. "Chinese astronauts may get fresh vegetables and oxygen supplies by gardening in extra-terrestrial bases in the future," read a report from the Xinhua news agency.

China has been ramping up its efforts to launch manned missions in to space over the last few years with plans to become the first nation to land humans on the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972. There are even plans to start a branch of the country's ruling Communist party in space.

Chinese astronauts are preparing to grow fresh vegetables on Mars and the moon after researchers successfully completed a preliminary test in Beijing, state media reported.

The Asian superpower has been ramping up its manned space activities as the United States, long the leader in the field, has scaled back some of its programmes, such as retiring its iconic space shuttle fleet.

In its last white paper on space, China said it was working towards landing a man on the moon -- a feat so far only achieved by the United States, most recently in 1972 -- although it did not give a time frame.

China s first astronaut Yang Liwei said last month that Chinese astronauts may start a branch of China s ruling Communist Party in space, state media reported.

"If we establish a party branch in space, it would also be the highest of its kind in the world," Xinhua quoted Yang as saying. The astronaut was launched into space and orbited the earth aboard the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft in 2003 ( via uk.news.yahoo.com ).

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