Growing a plant on earth is a perennial occurrence. But what if it grows on lunar soil? Surely that would be another great step for mankind. Researchers at the University of Florida have achieved this dream. The seeds germinated from the moon’s soil collected by NASA’s Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions.
‘Our goal is to make the moon a launch pad or a base for future orbital missions. This will only become a reality if we can cultivate and harvest the soil of the moon, ‘said one of the researchers behind the study, Prof. Rob Fell said. So far we have not been able to germinate any kind of seeds in the soil of the moon.
‘What will happen if I try to cultivate on the moon? How does the soil on the moon react to something that is not yet familiar? How do plants grow in greenhouses on the moon? Can we have farmers on the moon? ‘ Prof. Fell puts a lot of questions in front of us. The researchers also tried to find answers to these questions.
The first challenge was to get only 12 grams of lunar soil for the experiments. The plants were planted not in pots but in small pots the size of fingers. Tale Cross, a small shrub, was first planted here. The reason for choosing this plant is that the genetic structure was completely discovered.
Seeds of the same plant were sown in other soils for comparison. Almost all the seeds germinated. This was not expected at all, said Prof. who participated in the study. Says Anna Lisa Paul. At the same time, some of those grown on the moon were relatively small compared to those grown on Earth. Some grew very slowly.
Plants tend to grow even in unfavorable conditions. This is thought to have happened in the case of the lunar soil. “If plants can grow, it can change the surface of the moon,” he said. Stephen Elardo expressed hope. This is because the moon is a very dry region. The question arises as to whether the soil on the moon will be more fertile if a little more water is available. Such studies are expected to benefit Artemis ahead of the Artemis mission to land man on the moon in 2025.
English Summary: Scientists grow plants in lunar soil collected during the Apollo missions