For the first time in history, American scientists have grown plants in the soil from the moon. They see this as an important milestone in lunar and space exploration.
This was reported by the Associated Press.
Scientists have planted the thale cress, a plant, which is widespread on Earth, in the soil since the moon.
Plants germinated in lunar soil but had features: they were smaller, slower to grow and had a great variety in size.
The difficulty of the experiment was that the scientists had 12 grams of lunar soil (several teaspoons). The soil provided by NASA was collected during missions to the moon as part of the Apollo space program.
This experiment was an important step in growing plants for food and oxygen on the moon or during space missions. The study is also linked to plans to send people to the moon under the Artemis program. The next step is to grow plants on the moon.
- The first flight with astronauts (Artemis-2) around the moon is scheduled for 2024. The Artemis-3 mission will be the first after Apollo 17 to bring people to the moonʼs surface (as planned in 2025). It should land at the south pole of the moon. It is believed that its craters, which never see sunlight, contain huge reserves of ice. This ice can be used to produce rocket fuel on-site, so it does not have to be delivered from Earth, which will reduce the cost of exploring the moon.