“Holy Cow”: Scientists are able to grow plants in the moon’s soil for the first time

For the first time, scientists were growing plants in the soil of the moon, which he collected from NASAApoll astronauts.

The scientists had no idea if anything would grow in the dust of the moon, and they wanted to see if a new generation of lunar scientists could use it to grow food. The results surprised them.

“Holy cow. Plants actually grow in the things of the moon. Are you kidding?” said Robert Ferrell of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.

Ferrell and his colleagues planted watercress in the soil of the moon, which Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin from Apollo 11 and other lunar walkers brought back years ago, and the seeds germinated.

The downside was that after the first week, the unevenness and other characteristics of the lunar soil weighed the small-flowered weeds to the point that they grew more slowly than seedlings grown from the ground in the white heat.

Most of the lunar plants remained gloomy. The results were published in Communications Biology on Thursday.

The longer the soil is exposed to cosmic radiation and the solar wind in the Moon, the worse the plants will be.

Anna Lisa Ball on the left and Rob Ferrell, a researcher at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, works on a lunar soil lab in Gainesville, Florida. Photo: Tyler Jones / The Associated Press

Apollo 11 specimens – which were exposed to elements from the calm sea surface of the ancient moon more than 2 billion years ago – were the least favorable for growth, the researchers said.

“This is a big step toward the knowledge that you can grow plants,” said Simon Gilroy, an aeronautical plant biologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was not involved in the study. “The next real step is to go and do it on the Moon.”

The dust of the moon is filled with small shards of glass from collisions of micrometeorites that hit everywhere through Apollo’s moonlighters and space suits dressed for moon walks.

One solution could be to use the younger geological sites of the Moon, such as lava flows, to dig up cultivated land. The environment can also be modified by changing the nutrient mixture or adjusting the artificial light.

The six Apollo crews brought in only 842 pounds of moonstone and soil, most of which were locked.

NASA eventually distributed 12 grams to researchers at the University of Florida early last year, and the long-awaited cultivation took place in the lab last May.

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