Decades after humans last visited the moon in the Appolo mission the lunar soil sample was collected, and we now know that it’s possible to cultivate the soil there. This is the first time plants have been sprouted and grown on Earth in soil from another celestial body.
The study done by NASA could lay the foundation for growing plants that supply oxygen and food on the moon in favorable conditions the experiments also reveal just how stressful it is for plants to grow in lunar regolith or soil, which is wildly different from natural habitats on Earth. A study illustrating the plant experiment was published on Thursday in the journal Communications Biology.
Different types of plants, including food crops, have flown on the space shuttle and the International Space Station. Plant samples have even been used to prove that lunar samples aren’t harmful to life on Earth.
NASA officials said “Scientists at the University of Florida have made breakthrough discoveries decades in the making that could both enable space exploration and benefit humanity.
“Here we are, 50 years later, completing experiments that were started back in the Apollo labs,” said Robert Ferl, a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and a communicating author of a paper published on May 12, 2022, in Communications Biology”.
“We first asked the question of whether plants can grow in the regolith. And second, how might that one day help humans have an extended stay on the Moon.”