NASA says that scientists planted plants in the soil of the moon for the first time

NASA says that scientists planted plants in the soil of the moon for the first time

For the first time, scientists sowed seeds of soil from the Moon — samples retrieved during NASA missions in 1969 and 1972 — in an feat that holds the promise of using land plants to support human outposts on other worlds.

On Thursday, researchers said they planted the seeds of a small herb called . Arabidopsis thaliana In 12 small containers the size of a thimble, each container contains a gram of lunar soil, more appropriately called lunar regolith, and watch as it sprouts and grows.

Lunar regolith, with its sharp particles and lack of organic matter, is very different from Earth’s soil, so it was not known whether the seeds would germinate.

Anna Lisa Ball, professor of horticulture, director of the University of Florida’s Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research and co-leader of the study, said the study was published in the journal Communications Biology.

“Plants can grow on the lunar regolith,” Ball said. “This simple statement is huge and opens the door to future exploration using resources on the Moon and possibly on Mars.”

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 up to 20 days of age, and then its leaves were harvested to assess genetic activity.

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

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