London: Chinese astronauts are planning to grow fresh vegetables on Mars and the moon after researchers successfully completed a preliminary test in Beijing.
Four kinds of vegetables were grown in an "ecological life support system," a 300 cubic metre cabin, which will allow astronauts to develop their own stocks of air, water and food while on space missions, the Daily Mail reported.
The system, which relies on plants and algae, is "expected to be used in extra-terrestrial bases on the moon or Mars," the report said.
Participants in the experiment could "harvest fresh vegetables for meals," Deng Yibing, a researcher at Beijing's Chinese Astronaut Research and Training Centre, said.
"Chinese astronauts may get fresh vegetables and oxygen supplies by gardening in extra-terrestrial bases in the future," the report said, adding that the experiment was the first of its kind in China, although other countries have tested such systems.
China has said it will land an exploratory craft on the moon for the first time next year, as part of an ambitious space programme that includes a long-term plan for a manned moon landing.