“Holy cow … are you kidding me?” Scientists are amazed to see how plants grow in the soil of the moon CBC News:

Scientists have for the first time grown plants on the moon, collected by NASA “Apollo” astronauts.

The researchers had no idea if anything would germinate in the harsh lunar pollution, they wanted to see if it could be used by the next generation of lunar researchers to grow food. The results stunned them.

“Holy cow. In fact, plants grow in lunar matter. Are you kidding me? ” said Robert Ferl of the Institute of Food Science and Agriculture at the University of Florida.

Ferrell և and his colleagues planted the mustard oyster, a small annual weed of cabbage and cabbage, on lunar soil returned by Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong, Baz Aldrin, and other moonwalkers. Good news. all the seeds sprouted.

The downside was that after the first week, the roughness of the lunar soil և other traits strained the small, flowering weeds so much that they grew more slowly than the seedlings planted in the dirt of the false moon from the Earth. Most of the lunar plants have finally stopped.

Scientists have for the first time used lunar soil, which has long been collected by astronauts to grow plants, the results of which are quite promising, as NASA and others are already imagining greenhouses on the moon for the next generation of lunar explorers. (Tyler Jones / UF / IFAS / The Associated Press)

The results were published in the journal Communications Biology on Thursday.

The land is subject to punitive conditions

The longer the soil was exposed to the cosmic rays punishing the Moon by the solar wind, the worse the plants looked. According to scientists, specimens of Apollo 11 that have been exposed to elements for billions of years due to the older surface of the Pacific Ocean have contributed the least to growth.

“This is a big step forward in knowing that you can grow plants,” said Simon Gilroy, a space plant biologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who had no role in the study. “The next real step is to do it on the surface of the moon.”

Scientist Anna-Lisa Paul collects thallium plants in a lunar soil experiment at a laboratory in Gainsville for genetic analysis. (Tyler Jones / UF / IFAS / The Associated Press)

The moon’s dirt is full of tiny glass fragments from micrometeorite shocks that have appeared everywhere in Apollo’s lunar landings and worn out the lunar costumes.

The solution may be to use younger geological spots on the moon, such as lava flows, to dig up the planting soil. The environment can be improved by changing the nutrient mix or adjusting the artificial lighting.

Only 382 kilograms of moonstones and soil were recovered by six Apollo crews. Some of the moon’s earliest dust was sprayed on plants that were quarantined with Apollo astronauts after returning from the moon in Houston.

Another 2021 photo from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture shows the differences between the earthworm in volcanic ash, which had the same particle size and mineral composition of lunar soil as those grown from Earth. lunar land, exactly, after 16 days. (Tyler Jones / UF / IFAS / The Associated Press)

Most of the lunar reservoir remained closed, forcing researchers to experiment with mimic earth made of volcanic ash on Earth. NASA finally donated 12 grams to researchers at the University of Florida early last year, the long-awaited planting took place in a laboratory in May last year.

NASA said the timing of such an experiment was finally right, as the space agency plans to return astronauts to the moon in a few years.

The ideal situation would be for future astronauts who would use their endless supply of local dirt to plant indoors against the creation of a hydroponic or complete water system, scientists say.

“The fact that something has grown means we have a really good starting point, now the question is how we optimize and improve,” said Sharmila Bhatacharyan, a NASA Space Biologist. :

Scientists in Florida hope to recycle their lunar soil later this year by planting more thalli slag before switching to other vegetation.


The Associated Press’s Department of Health Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.


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