In a NASA-funded study, scientists at the University of Florida grew plants in soil collected from the moon, according to a study published Thursday in the journal. Communication biology.
Bill Nelson, Administrator of NASA press release. He added that the research could also have implications for plants that grow in harsh conditions on Earth.
“We will need to use the resources on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts living and working in deep space,” Nelson said.
In the study, researchers planted seeds Arabidopsis thaliana – a plant associated with mustard greens, as well as other cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower and broccoli – in lunar soil, which was sampled directly from the moon from the Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions.
For comparison, the researchers also planted the seeds in a lunar simulator, designed to closely mimic real lunar soil.
Anna Lisa Ball, a research professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Horticultural Sciences and first author of the study, described samples taken from the Moon as “thin” and “powdery.” It also “sticks to everything,” Ball added.
The seeds began to germinate within days of planting.
said Paul, who is also director of the University of Florida’s Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research.
Although all the seeds germinated, the seeds that grew in the lunar soil didn’t grow as “strong” as those in the control group, according to the release. The statement said that some plants grown in the lunar soil samples had “obstructed” their roots and leaves, as well as some “reddish pigmentation.”
After the plants had grown for 20 days, the researchers harvested the plants and prepared to study the plant’s RNA. The expressed genotypes matched the way the researchers saw Arabidopsis It reacts with stress before in other harsh environments, such as when soil holds excess salt or heavy metals, according to the release.
“Now that we have lunar soils that have been in contact with biology, we can begin to ask the question: How can you and how difficult is it to mitigate any of the negative reactions we’ve seen?” said Robert Ferrell, assistant vice president for research at the University of Florida and author of the study.
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