It’s winter in Antarctica, but scientists just grew watermelons there

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At Vostok Station in Antarctica, July means miserably low temperatures, nearly perpetual darkness and all the opposite inconveniences of an Antarctic winter. However this winter introduced Russian scientists dwelling on the station a particular deal with: watermelons grown there as a part of ongoing agricultural experiments.

Russian agricultural researchers say they efficiently grew eight watermelons at a station greenhouse as a part of a wider initiative to develop vegetation at Russia’s polar stations. The experiments are additionally meant to check the potential of agricultural manufacturing at future outposts in house.

Lower than 1,000 miles away from the South Pole, the analysis station is on bitterly chilly terrain that in 1983 was house to Earth’s record-low air temperature: minus-128.6 levels Fahrenheit. Nonetheless, researchers have already efficiently grown tomatoes, peppers and herbs in particular greenhouses.

The watermelons have been planted with out soil and grew utilizing a mix of soil substitute, fertilizers and particular lighting. Within the absence of bees and different pollinators, scientists hand-pollinated the vegetation.

It labored: After planting the watermelon seeds in early April and pollinating them in late Might, the primary fruits grew by July.

The watermelons’ “style and aroma usually are not worse than” home ones, mentioned Andrey Teplyakov, a geophysicist on the Arctic and Antarctic Analysis Institute, which runs Vostok Station, in a translated information launch. Researchers harvested eight fruits that have been as much as 5.11 inches in diameter, the heaviest of which weighed about 2.2 kilos.

“Naturally, all polar explorers have been blissful to recollect the style of summer season. Even the commentary of seedlings, development, look of fruits and their improve introduced optimistic feelings,” Teplyakov mentioned.

Subsequent, the researchers mentioned, they’ll try different crops, together with berries and cucumbers.

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