Scientists have successfully grown the first plant in the lunar soil, here is how it happened


In a new development towards space exploration, scientists announced last week that they have succeeded in growing plants in soil collected from the moon. Details of this progressive study have emerged in a research paper recently published in the Journal of Communications Biology. The NASA-funded study was conducted by scientists at the University of Florida who were able to grow hard and well-studied Arabidopsis thaliana in a nutrient-deficient lunar regolith.

Earth was brought to Earth during the Apollo missions 11, 12 and 17 by the American Space Agency. According to NASA, lunar surface material known as Regolith was brought to Earth where it could be studied with state-of-the-art equipment and stored for future research. For the experiment, researchers planted plant seeds related to mustard greens, as well as other cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and cauliflower, into the lunar soil. In a press release, NASA explained that the plant also plays a key role for scientists due to its small size and ease of growth, making it one of the most studied plants in the world. Arabidopsis thaliana is used as a model organism for research in all fields of plant biology.

Anna-Lisa Paul, a research professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at the University of Florida and the first author of the study, describes the lunar soil as “fine” and “powdery” that “sticks to everything.”

The researchers added water and then seeds to the lunar soil samples and then placed the train in a terrarium box in a clean room. A nutrient solution was also added to the mixture daily. Studies have shown that seeds begin to germinate within days of sowing. However, scientists observed that not all seeds grown in the lunar soil grow as “strong” as the seeds under control. The study noted that the roots and leaves of some of the plants grown in the lunar soil samples were “stuck”, as well as some had “red pigmentation”.

However, this is a significant breakthrough in space biology as Sharmila Bhattacharya, program scientist at NASA’s Department of Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS), said in a statement: “Having plants around us is not fun for us, especially when we venture out. New places in space, but they can provide complementary nutrition to our diets and enable future human exploration. “

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