Scientists Successfully Use Soil from the Moon to Grow Plants

KOMPAS.com – After more than 50 years, astronauts brought samples of the last lunar rock to Earth, scientists finally succeeded in growing plants using soil from the moon for the first time.

In the early days of the Apollo astronauts’ voyage, they took samples of the lunar surface material known as “regolith“.

Fifty years later, at the start of the era of Artemis and subsequent astronauts returning to the Moon, three of the samples have been used to successfully grow crops.

For the first time, researchers have grown Arabidopsis thaliana strong and well studied in regolith nutrient-poor month.

Reported by page NASA, May 12, 2022, the NASA-funded study was conducted by scientists from the University of Florida. They made a breakthrough by completing experiments in the Apollo laboratory.

“This research is critical to NASA’s long-term human exploration goals because we need to use the resources found on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts living and operating in space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

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Robert Ferl, a professor in the department of Horticultural Science at the University of Florida, Gainesville, said his team posed the following research questions:

  1. can plants grow in regolith?
  2. how can one day help humans to stay longer on the moon?

The answer to the first research question is yes. Plants can grow on the lunar regolith.

Even so, the plants that grew were not as strong as the plants that grew on the earth’s soil. In fact, it was no stronger than the control group grown in a simulated moon made of volcanic ash.

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By studying how plants respond to lunar samples, the research team hopes to answer a second question as well in order to pave the way for future astronauts to be able to grow more nutrient-rich plants on the moon and thrive in space.

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