Plants grown on lunar soil

At the same time, the soil itself came to Earth from the Apollos. Scientists reported the first ever plants grown in soil from the Moon. Although the process resulted in something far from edible food, the team's success marks a significant milestone in the attempt to maintain a future moon base.DiscussPlants were grown on the lunar soil

The breakthrough came under the leadership of Anna-Lisa Paul and Rob Furl of the University of Florida. The soil in question was collected during the Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions, so it is of great historical significance, scientists were able to borrow 12 g of precious material from NASA to grow themselves a tiny garden.< /p>

Using pots the size of thimble, the scientists loaded each of them with a gram of lunar soil, moistened it with a nutrient solution, and sowed the seeds of the Arabidopsis plant. In parallel, the team planted the same seeds in simulated lunar soil, simulated Martian soil, and soil from extreme environments on Earth as control experiments. Despite initial skepticism, scientists were pleasantly surprised to find that almost all lunar soils sprouted.

Plants grown on lunar soil

However, plants grown in lunar soil developed more slowly and many of them showed signs of stress, showing the kind of gene expression scientists expected to see in plants exposed to salt, metals, and reactive oxygen species.

those grown in more mature lunar soil – soil more exposed to the cosmic wind – showed more signs of stress, while plants in less mature soil tolerated stress more mildly. As part of subsequent research, scientists will continue to study the relationship between plant health and soil composition, as well as what effect plants can have on the soil itself.