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They modify the soil of the Moon and grow potatoes there, this is what they became

Growing plants on lunar soil will soon no longer be science fiction. Scientists may have found a solution that will one day make it possible to feed a colony of astronauts on the Moon…

With its dusty and desert landscapes, the Moon does not seem to be the ideal place to get started in growing crops. lunar surface… If you look closely at photos of the lunar surface, you will notice that the ground is covered with a layer of dust, that the It is called "golith", and which is not very welcoming to plants due to its mineral composition. It contains a lot of phosphorus, a crucial element in plant growth. , fertilizing the soil of the Moon is becoming a central issue for the next long-term lunar missions. Given scientific advances, this preposterous idea seems less and less fanciful and we'll explain why.

It all started in 2022, when a scientific study reached growing lady's cress, a plant species close to cabbages and mustard, in samples of lunar soil related to the during the missions Apollo. But the young shoots developed with difficulty: they grew slowly and had a stunted appearance. Indeed, the lunar soil samples contained phosphorus in an insoluble form that could not be absorbed by plants. D'où “the interest in modifying the chemical properties of the lunar soil to make it more welcoming” the magazine then explained Science and the Future.

They modify the soil of the Moon and grow potatoes there, this is what they became

Results of the 2023 experiment, during which plants sown in fertilized soil were grown. grew better (bottom line) than in unfertilized lunar soil. by bacteria (top line). © Yitong et al., Communications biology, CC BY-SA 4.0

In a new Chinese study published in November 2023 in the journal Communication Biology, scientists attempted to oacute; to solve this problem by using three bacteria that modify the acidity of the body. of the lunar soil, allowing the release of the phosphorus necessary for plant development. The researchers thus obtained plants with longer roots and larger leaves. These bacteria could therefore serve as fertilizer for the regolith in future lunar greenhouses!

If the experience has not yet been completed, attempted with potato seedlings, but with a plant species from the tobacco family, this discovery opens up interesting perspectives for future lunar colonies. With the delay of the next manned missions like those of NASA's Artemis program, scientists still have time ahead of them to look into the cultivation of other species that will make it possible to feed the astronauts of tomorrow.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116