Scientists have now grown plants in lunar soil for the first time

Researchers have grown Arabidopsis plants in lunar soil collected by NASA astronauts over fifty years ago on Apollo moon missions.

Published May 13, 2022 4:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jun 2 2022 5:02 AM CDT
2 minutes & 10 seconds read time

A study on the plants growing in lunar soil titled "Plants grown in Apollo lunar regolith present stress-associated transcriptomes that inform prospects for lunar exploration" has been published in the journal Communications Biology.

NASA astronauts collected the lunar soil from the moon during the Apollo 11 and 12 missions in 1969 and Apollo 17 in 1972. Only twelve grams of the soil was loaned to researchers from the University of Florida (UF) by NASA to experiment with after they applied multiple times to receive some. With such little material, their small-scale experiment involved growing seeds from the Arabidopsis plant in the lunar soil and Earthen soil for a control group.

"We wanted to do this experiment because, for years, we were asking this question: Would plants grow in lunar soil. The answer, it turns out, is yes," said Rob Ferl, one of the study's authors and a distinguished professor of horticultural sciences in the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

Scientists have now grown plants in lunar soil for the first time 02 |

Nearly all of the seeds planted in each sample of lunar soil grew, though with noticeable differences compared to the control group. The plants grown in the lunar soil group were more varied in size, with some growing smaller or more slowly than those in the control group, indicating that the plants were working to adapt to the different composition of the lunar soil.

"At the genetic level, the plants were pulling out the tools typically used to cope with stressors, such as salt and metals or oxidative stress, so we can infer that the plants perceive the lunar soil environment as stressful. Ultimately, we would like to use the gene expression data to help address how we can ameliorate the stress responses to the level where plants-particularly crops-are able to grow in lunar soil with very little impact to their health," said Anna-Lisa Paul, another of the study's authors and a research professor of horticultural sciences in UF/IFAS.

You can read more from the study here.

Scientists have now grown plants in lunar soil for the first time 03 |
Scientists have now grown plants in lunar soil for the first time 04 |

Adam's Top 3 Recommended Articles:

Read more: Crazy video shows a test vehicle catapulted toward space at 1,000+ mph

Read more: New DARPA hypersonic missile prototype test flew 5x the speed of sound

Read more: Takers of the first-ever black hole photo have a massive announcement

Buy at Amazon

Apollo 17: Final Footprints

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
* Prices last scanned on 10/2/2022 at 11:37 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

Newsletter Subscription

    Related Tags

    Newsletter Subscription
    Latest News
    View More News
    Latest Reviews
    View More Reviews
    Latest Articles
    View More Articles
    Partner Content
    Advertise With Us