NASA grows plants on Moon soil! Know what it means and what experts say | Tech News

NASA grows plants on Moon soil! Know what it means and what experts say

Scientists have successfully cracked the difficult code! We can grow plants on the Moon's soil! But what does it do for Moon missions? Know what NASA said.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 12:37 IST
NASA grows plants
NASA-funded study has successfully managed to grow plants out of lunar soil. Know details. (NASA)

Plants can grow in Lunar soil! That NASA-funded study surely has made a breakthrough discovery. A first step towards the hope that one day growing plants for food and oxygen on the moon or during space missions will be possible. Well, in the early days of the space age, the Apollo astronauts used to bring samples of the lunar surface material, known as regolith, back to Earth, NASA mentioned in its report. The soil samples from the surface of the moon were saved for years for the research that was not yet imagined. That's what happened! Fifty years later, three of such lunar soil samples have been used to successfully grow plants.

Thanks to the experiment by scientists at the University of Florida, who made this possible. "Using samples from Apollo 11, 12, and 17, we show that the terrestrial plant Arabidopsis thaliana germinates and grows in diverse lunar regoliths. However, our results show that growth is challenging; the lunar regolith plants were slow to develop and many showed severe stress morphologies," the research paper published in Communications Biology by the scientists leading the researcher: Anna-Lisa Paul, Stephen Elardo & Robert Ferl, on growing plants on lunar soil mentioned.

What does this experiment mean for future Moon missions and Earth?

The researchers had two major questions in their mind before stepping ahead for the experiment: first, whether plants can grow in regolith (sample of lunar soil)? And second, how might that one day help humans have an extended stay on the Moon. The successful experiment of growing plants in the soil of the moon surely answered the first question, but the second remains stagnant and important for future space missions.

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NASA Administrator Bill Nelson shed light on this while mentioning, “This research is critical to NASA's long-term human exploration goals as we'll need to use resources found on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts living and operating in deep space.” The experiment doesn't only pave the way to develop food sources for future astronauts on the Moon or in deep space, but actually the research is a key example of how NASA is working to unlock agricultural innovations that can help understand how plants might overcome stressful conditions in food-scarce areas here on Earth.

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First Published Date: 02 Jun, 12:58 IST