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Cultivation of plants in the soil of the moon: a group of scientists succeeded

Cultivation of plants in the soil of the moon: a group of scientists succeeded

When we think of humanity outside the Earth’s atmosphere, the thought flies To Mars: This horizon of imagination, on the other hand, has been colonized on a large scale Elon Musk With the ambition to reach quickly to set foot on the red planet and then establish long-term settlements.

But without looking away, even there moon It may be useful. The absence of an atmosphere that protects it from solar radiation certainly makes it inhospitable to the hypothesis of a human colony, yet it seems that Our satellite It can give us something more than its dry, dusty surface.

A group of scientists led by Robert Ferrell of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has published in temper nature The Surprising results of a study involving the cultivation of some shoots of Arabidopsis thaliana (known as “common arabita”) in lunar soil samples collected by NASA..

A plant native to Eurasia and Africa and a relative of mustard and other vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower) was chosen due to its small size and ease of growth.

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A total of 12 lunar soil samples, collected during the three Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions, represent different soil layers, with different properties, in order to better understand the conditions in which plants can more easily enjoy development.

The surprise is actually that All buds have grown, proving that plants can grow from the soil of the moon. althoug It is not a smooth process (We are far, in short, From Heinz ketchup made from tomatoes grown in a Martian simulated environment).

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In fact, the researchers carefully monitored the state of the sprouts and compared their development with that of the control group found in samples of terrestrial volcanic ash. The seedlings that grew from the soil of the moon were doing it slowerit takes longer to develop expanded leaves and show different shapes signs of stresswith more stunted roots and in some cases reddish-black pigmentation.

More specifically, the team of scientists observed that plants grown in samples obtained from the Apollo 11 mission had more difficulty growing than those collected by Apollo 12 and 17: this difference is probably due to the higher level of cosmic rays and damage caused by solar wind It affects the soil samples of Apollo 11. It also affects the presence of small samples iron particles It could be related to inducing a state of stress in plants which in turn endangers their growth, without completely inhibiting it.