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Study suggests you may be able to grow plants on the Moon

Communications Biology
Seeds of A.
Planetary and Space Sciences
Creative Commons

Paul et al
Monica Grady



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The New York Times
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Now a new study, published in Communications Biology, has started to provide answers.The researchers behind the study cultivated the fast-growing plant Arabidopsis thaliana in samples of lunar regolith (soil) brought back from three different places on the Moon by the Apollo astronauts.7 video editing features you needThis is not the first time that attempts have been made to grow plants in lunar regolith though, but it is the first to demonstrate why they don’t thrive.The lunar regolith is very different from terrestrial soils. They found that most of the stress reaction in all the Apollo seedlings came from salts, metal, and oxygen that is highly reactive (the last two of which are not common in terrestrial soil) in the lunar samples.Experimental results, with different wells for each soil. The terrestrial version also contained natural volcanic glass as an analog for the “glassy agglutinates” – small mineral fragments mixed with melted glass – that are abundant in the lunar regolith.The scientists recognized the agglutinates as one of the potential reasons for the lack of growth by the seedlings in the Apollo soil compared to the terrestrial soil, and also for the difference in growth patterns between the three lunar samples.Agglutinates are a common feature of the lunar surface.

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