Scientists are growing plants in soil from the Moon for the first time

Scientists from the University of Florida first completed a (and lunar) universe from. The researchers used samples taken from missions 12 and 17, but did not have much to do.

While a total of 842 pounds (382 kilograms) of soil and rock have been returned to Earth by the Moon, the researchers received just 12 grams of the so-called “lunar regolith” from NASA. However, that was more than the four grams they requested. Scientists Rob Ferl and Anna-Lisa Paul had to be patient to put their hands on the soil as well – they applied for the samples three times in 11 years.

The team used thimble-sized wells in plastic plates, commonly used for cell culture, as pots. The scientists placed a gram of soil in each of them, added a nutrient solution and then placed a little cardamom (Arabidopsis thaliana) seeds. They planted the seeds in other soil types as part of a control group, including the simulated soil of Mars, soils from extreme environments, and a substance that mimics lunar soil.

Almost all the seeds planted in the lunar regolith germinated, but the plants eventually showed some differences from those grown in the control group. Some of the Moon’s dirt grew slower or smaller. There was more variation in sizes than with the control group cardamom.

The scientists, who in the journal Biology of Communications, found that differences in the composition of lunar soil samples appear to have affected plant growth. They found that the hardest cardamom was grown in what is known as mature lunar soil, which is exposed to more cosmic winds.

In particular, such as Notes, samples from Apollo 11 were considered the least effective for growing plants. These were taken from the ancient surface of the Calm Sea, which had several billion years more exposure to the environment. The researchers wrote that “further characterization and optimization would be needed before regolith could be considered a routine resource in situ, especially in locations where regolith is very mature.”

However, the success of the experiment paved the way for the possibility of plants growing on the Moon for food and oxygen, before NASA took humans back to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972. “Artemis will need a better understanding of how to grow plants in space, “said Ferl, one of the authors of the paper and a distinguished professor of horticultural science at the UF Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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