Firm Vows to Grow Flower on the Moon

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2009 6:44 PM CDT
Paragon Space Development plans to grow a mustard plant on the moon sometime over the next few years.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A company that builds biospheres to sustain life in outer space is planning to grow a mustard plant on the moon, New Scientist reports. Paragon Space Development will piggyback its greenhouse on a lunar lander competing in a $30 million contest to go to the moon. "We want there to be a great inspirational picture" to rouse excitement for spaceflight, says Paragon's CEO.

Paragon's research team picked the mustard plant because it can flower quickly—in two weeks, or one lunar day—and avoid the cold of lunar night. "We're sending the mustard first and hot dogs need to follow," quipped the founder of Odyssey Moon, whose lander will compete for the Google Lunar X Prize. "Hopefully these will be the precursors to the greenhouses you would need to live on the moon."