Scientists for the first time succeeded in growing plants in lunar soil. For the experiment described in the journal Communications Biology on Thursday (local time), the researchers used twelve grams of lunar soil that scientists collected during the Apollo missions in the 1970s. In small flower pots, they sowed plant seeds in 1 gram of lunar soil and added the nutrient solution every day.
In the control experiments, the seeds were also sown in normal soil and in soil samples that mimic the composition of soils on the Moon and Mars. Both in lunar soil and in other pots, the seeds germinated within two days.
Anna Lisa Ball of the University of Florida, explained that for the first six days, all the plants looked the same. After that, the differences became clear: in the lunar soil, plants grew more slowly and their roots were less developed.
After 20 days, the scientists harvested all the plants and analyzed their DNA. Analyzes showed that samples grown in lunar soil showed similar reactions to plants grown in hostile environments such as saline soil or soil contaminated with heavy metals.
US Space Agency President Bill Nelson said this research is critical to NASA’s long-term space exploration programs. For future projects of permanent stations on the Moon or Mars, it is important to use the resources there to feed the astronauts. (hi / oppa)
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