Seeds grow in soil from the Moon brought to Earth – 05/12/2022 – Science

For the first time, scientists were able to grow seeds on lunar soil, in samples brought back by NASA on missions in 1969 and 1972, a feat that foreshadows the promise of using terrestrial plants to sustain human outposts on other planets.

The researchers said on Thursday they had planted seeds of a 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, is very different from terrestrial soil, so it was not known whether the seeds would germinate.

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

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

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

Land plants can help people establish outposts on places like the Moon and Mars, as shown in the 2015 movie “The Martian”, when an astronaut grows potatoes on the Red Planet. NASA’s Artemis program predicts people returning to the surface of the Moon in the coming years.

About Raju Singh

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

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