June 16, 2022
Based on an experiment funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and carried out by scientists at the University of Florida, USA, it was revealed that plants could successfully grow in lunar soil. Soil samples from the moon were collected on the Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions. For the study, only a gram of lunar soil was used for each plant. Then, water and seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana were added to the samples. The trays were put in terrarium boxes in a clean room and a nutrient solution was added daily. The plants sprouted after two days.
Based on their observations, scientists concluded that the plants grew differently depending on the sample they were in and were not as robust as those grown in Earth’s soil. They were slow to grow and had stunted roots and leaves. Also, a reddish pigmentation was observed. This data will be used to understand how different properties of lunar soil affect the growth of plants and to find a way for future astronauts to grow plants on the moon.
Did You Know?
Lunar soil is made up of rock fragments, mineral grains and glass particles.