Scientists have succeeded in growing plants in the lunar soil

The soil brought by the three American hot trips also helped scientists find an interaction between the plants and their germination substrate, i.e. as a regent of the moon.

The research perspective is to get closer to the possible future where humans will grow plants for food and oxygen production on the Moon or in space missions.

“In the future, longer spaceflight could use the Moon as a launch pad or storehouse. It would make sense to use existing soil to grow plants,” said Rob Ferl, a professor of horticulture, one of the authors of the study. notes that everything that happens to plants growing in the soil of the moon remains known, which is beyond any evolutionary experience.

With only 12 grams of soil in use, a U.S. space agency loan that took 11 years to obtain, they used small thimble-sized holes to try to collect and obtain seeds, water, nutrients, and earth from the Moon. with light ..

They sow Arabidopsis, a plant whose genetic map is already known, and almost all the seeds germinate in regolith.

“We were amazed. We hadn’t predicted this to happen. But it shows us that the soil of the moon doesn’t cut off the hormones and signals involved in plant germination,” Ferl said.

Over time, they found that some seeds grew smaller or slower than those that germinated in another control country that did not originate from the Moon.

They concluded that these were the reactions of plants to the chemical composition and structure of the lunar regolith, which are reflected in the expression patterns of their genes.

“At the genetic level, plants have used tools commonly used to deal with stressors such as salts and metals, which can provide clues as to how lunar soils can be welcomed, enabling‘ plants that can grow in lunar soils without having little. effect. your health “.

Different reactions may also be related to where the soil was collected and whether it was in its original location more or less exposed to cosmic winds that altered its composition.

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