Scientists have grown plants on the Moon for the first time, an important step towards making long-term life on the Moon possible.
Researchers used small soil samples collected during the Apollo missions between 1969 and 1972 to grow a type of hyacinth.
To the group’s surprise, the seeds germinated after two days.
“I can’t tell you how surprised we were,” said Professor Anna-Lisa Paul of the University of Florida in the United States, who co-authored a paper on the recent findings.
“Each plant—whether in a lunar sample or a control that used conventional soil—looked the same by day six.”
After that differences arose. Plants grown on lunar soil began to show problems, grew more slowly, and eventually became stunted.
But experts say the work has already represented a breakthrough – and could have implications for our own planet.
NASA Chief Bill Nelson said, “This research is important for long-term human exploration goals, as we will need to use the resources found on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts who will be able to access these resources.” places and will operate.”
He added, “This fundamental research on plant growth is also an important example of how NASA is working to unlock agricultural innovations that help us understand where plants grow in food-scarce regions on Earth. How can I handle stressful situations?
One challenge for researchers is that there isn’t much lunar soil to conduct experiments on.
Over a three-year period beginning in 1969, astronauts brought a total of 382 kilograms of moon rock, earth sand, dust and other components of the lunar surface back to Earth.
To conduct the study, the University of Florida team was given just one gram of soil per plant. And that stuff was off for decades.
NASA plans to take humans to the Moon in a mission scheduled for 2025 for the first time since 1972.