Scientists have grown plants in lunar soil for the first time, says NASA | Science

For the first time, scientists have grown seeds with soil from the Moon – samples recovered during NASA missions in 1969 and 1972 – in an achievement that heralds the promise of using land plants to support human outposts on other worlds.

  • Unprecedented photo of black hole at the center of the Milky Way is released by consortium of scientists
  • What are black holes, like Sagittarius A*, from the Event Horizon Telescope photo

The researchers said on Thursday they had planted seeds of a tiny weed called Arabidopsis thaliana in 12 small containers the size of a thimble, each with a gram of lunar soil, more properly called lunar regolith, and watched as they sprouted and grew.

Lunar regolith, with its sharp particles and lack of organic material, differs greatly from Earth’s soil, so it was not known whether the seeds would germinate.

“When we first saw the abundance of green shoots scattered over all the samples, we were breathless,” said professor of horticultural sciences Anna-Lisa Paul, director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Research in Biotechnology at the University of Florida and co-leader of the study published in the journal Communications Biology.

“Plants can grow on the lunar regolith. That simple statement is huge and opens the door to future explorations using existing resources on the Moon and probably on Mars,” said Paul.

All the seeds germinated and there were no external differences in the early stages of growth between those sown in the regolith – composed mainly of crushed basalt rocks – and seeds sown for comparative reasons in volcanic ash from Earth of similar mineral composition and particle size.

The seeds germinated in three days. After about a week of growth, the researchers removed all but one of the plants from each container. It was allowed to grow until 20 days of age, with its leaves then harvested to assess gene activity.

“Plants are deeply rooted in the science of space exploration because of their life-supporting role, especially when considering leaving Earth for long periods of time,” said Rob Ferl, assistant vice president for research at the University of Florida and co-author of the search.

  • ‘Astronomy unites and shows that we can work together’, says astronomer in the photo of the Milky Way’s black hole

Americans Celebrate 50 Years of Man's First Time on the Moon

Americans Celebrate 50 Years of Man’s First Time on the Moon

About Raju Singh

Raju has an exquisite taste. For him, video games are more than entertainment and he likes to discuss forms and art.

Check Also

Instagram presents instability this Thursday | Technology

Users around the world reported difficulties accessing Instagram this Thursday (26). According to reports, the …