Scientists are able to grow plants in the soil from the moon for the first time

Scientists are able to grow plants in the soil from the moon for the first time

A American team Scientists have for the first time succeeded in growing plants on models of lunar regolith, which is a step forward in making the planets more self-sufficient. Space travel in the future.

The Team led by Rob Ferrell, Of University of Florida, After many years of effort, the US space agency NASA gave him 12 grams of dust from the moon. Apollo missions 11, 12 and 17.

For their experiment, the results, published Thursday in “Communication Biology,” compared the evolution of the seeds of the Arabidopsis taliana native to Eurasia and Africa. . It has similar properties.

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Researchers have “surprisingly” found that plants grow in regolith – a historic milestone – and that they grew worse than that. The floor is gray.

Thus, those who were inside Ground moonr They explained in their article in the Springer Nature Group publication that the volcano “grew slower, took longer to form broad leaves and more stunted roots” than was found in soil.

While some plants grown in the moon’s dust have the same shape and color as those planted in the ashes, others have “less visible red-black pigments,” the researchers said, indicating stress.

When they did a genetic analysis of the three smaller and darker plants, they found that they contained more than a thousand genes at different levels than specimens grown in volcanic soil, often associated with stress.

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In addition, the plants grown in the samples collected by Apollo 11, which scientists have long exposed to the lunar surface, did not grow from Apollo 12 and 17 and are very different compared to their genetic expression. Apollo 12 and 17. Located in volcanic soil.

They point out that the plants in models Apollo 11, 12 and 17 “presented genes 465, 265 and 113 at different levels, respectively, of which 71% were linked to stress caused by molecules that react with salts, metals, and oxygen.” .

Experts guess that “Cosmic rays And solar wind damage on the lunar surface, as well as the presence of small iron particles on this surface can cause stress on plants and affect their growth. To grow vegetables efficiently on the surface of the moon, the authors emphasize further studies on the relationship between plants and the lunar soil.

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The possibility of growing crops on that star is considered an essential step for long-term space missions, with the idea that astronauts can produce their own food in space without having to return to refuel the Earth.

In January 2019, the Chinese Chang’e-4 mission He was able to grow the first plant on the moon, but died eight earth days later. The plant lived in a special container with soil aboard the Chang’e-4 spacecraft that landed far from the moon on January 3 of that year, and it is believed that this miniosphere did not survive the very cold lunar night. .

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Arzu Daniel

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