Scientists achieved to grow plants in lunar soil. The experiment was made by the University of Florida Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research. Researchers had planted seeds of a diminutive flowering weed called Arabidopsis thaliana in 12 small thimble-sized containers, each containing a small sample of material retrieved during the Apollo missions in 1969 and 1972, also known as lunar regolith. The seeds sprouted within three days. Every seed germinated and there were no outward differences at the early stages of growth. “When we first saw that abundance of green sprouts cast over all of the samples, it took our breath away,” said horticultural sciences professor Anna-Lisa Paul. The regolith has sharp particles and a lack of organic material, being different if compared to the soil on Earth.
The very important conclusion of the study was that plants can grow in lunar regolith, which is important for future exploration using resources in place on the moon and likely Mars. However, the plants obtained showed gene activity indicative of stress, similar to plant reactions to salt, metal and oxidation. This study provided hope. More will be needed to clarify many problems around this matter.It was a revelation that terrestrial life is not limited to Earth. NASA’s Artemis program envisions people returning to the moon’s surface in the coming years.