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HomeInnovationPlants can be grown on the Moon according to a study

Plants can be grown on the Moon according to a study

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It would not be any type of plant and it could not grow anywhere on the surface, but at the moment there is a study that reveals that certain types of plants if they could germinate on the Moon having managed to do it in samples of lunar regolith brought from our satellite.

Regolith is the name given to the accumulation of materials deposited on the surface, in this case of the Moon.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications Biology and the authors find that samples of the fast-growing plant Arabidopsis Thaliana would have germinated in different samples of lunar regolith brought to Earth by different space missions.

By the denomination of regolith is known the accumulation of unconsolidated materials and debris deposited on the surface, in this case of the Moon, coming mostly from the rain of fragments from the fall of meteorites and micrometeorites that, when impacting against the surface of the satellite, project fragmented and even pulverized minerals.

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This is not the first time that the lunar soil has been cultivated, but it has been the first time that it has been successful. The difficulty for this lies in the fact that the lunar regolith, very different from the terrestrial soil, lacks organic matter (bacteria, worms, products of the decomposition of plant species…) in addition to cmake up entirely of water in solution.

However, given that the mineral composition is similar to that of the Earth, it would be enough to regulate the conditions of solar illumination and humidification artificially so that, as has been achieved in the laboratory, terrestrial plant species could germinate in the lunar regolith.

This has been achieved from samples brought back by the Apollo 11, Apollo 12 and Apollo 17 spacecraft in the 1970s. The analysis shows that what most affects the growth of plants grown in lunar regolith has to do with its composition. in terms of salts, metals and highly reactive oxygen, which does not exist on Earth.

As a “terrain of contrast” a culture was established that tried to imitate the characteristics of the lunar regolith based on basaltic and volcanic materials. The most notable difference was found in the tendency of lunar material to crystallizedue to the absence of gravity on our satellite, the impacts of meteorites and micrometeorites manage to agglutinate the minerals that make up the soil in the form of crystals.

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This causes the less “mature” regolith to be more favorable in that it has remained unchanged for a longer time due to this reaction caused by meteoric impacts. Therefore, the most “quiet” regions, because they receive less impact, would be the most favorable for lunar cultivation.

Finally, and as usually happens with the vast majority of scientific research related to space, beyond its obvious usefulness with a view to the possible establishment of colonies on the Moon, the findings derived from this study are also applicable to our planet by the analysis obtained of the most favorable conditions to cultivate depending on the nature of the land.


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