A group of Australian scientists is promoting a project to send seeds to the Moon in 2025 to grow plants and considered that this initiative, if successful, can pave the way for a future colony of human beings on the satellite.
Plants on the Moon
“Space is an exceptional testing ground for how to propagate plants in the most extreme environments,” Caitlin Byrt, one of the Australian Lunar Experiment Promoting Horticulture (ALEPH) researchers on the Lunaria One project, said in a statement.
To carry out this experiment, scientists plan to send a hermetically sealed capsule to the Moon carrying a series of seeds and specimens of the so-called “resurrection plants”, as well as water to encourage their growth and technical equipment such as sensors and cameras to monitor its development.
The key characteristic of the seeds and “resurrection plants” chosen for the Lunaria One, led by Lauren Fell, is that they survive for months without water in extreme conditions and revive after receiving water, according to another statement from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
“Even after losing more than 95 per cent of their relative water content, dead-looking grass lives on and pre-existing tissues flourish when given water,” explained Brett Williams, a QUT biologist involved in Lunaria One.
Cultivated for food
Through this project, the scientific team tries to investigate whether plants can be cultivated for food, medicine and oxygen production, which will be a first step towards establishing future human colonies on the lunar surface.
In addition, the Lunaria One project will serve to develop new ways to maximize sustainable food production on Earth, especially after natural disasters that are becoming more frequent due to the climate crisis.
“The extreme conditions facing the Earth due to climate change pose a challenge for managing food security in the future,” Byrt said.
In the space mission, which includes Lunaria One, the QUT, RMIT University and ANU participate on behalf of Australia; in addition to the Ben Gurion University of Israel, as well as the Israeli organization SpaceIl.
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