Australian scientists aim to grow plants on the moon by 2025
Sydney, Australia, Oct 7 (EFE).- A group of Australian scientists are set to experiment with growing plants on the moon from 2025 as part of a project to make the vegetation survive in extreme climates and pave the way to human colonies in space, researchers said on Friday.
“Space is an exceptional testing ground for how to propagate plants in the most extreme of environments,” Caitlyn Byrt, one of the researchers of Lunaria 1’s Australian Lunar Experiment Promoting Horticulture, said in a statement released on Friday by the Australian National University.
As part of the experiment, scientists are set to send a hermetically sealed chamber to the moon, carrying a number of seeds and so-called “resurrection plants” along with water to help their growth as well as technical equipment such as sensors and camera for monitoring.
The key characteristics of the seeds and resurrection plants chosen for the Lunaria One project – headed by Lauren Fell – is that they survive in extreme conditions for months and still get revived after receiving water, according to another statement by the Queensland University of Technology.
“Even after losing more than 95 per cent of its relative water content, the dead-looking grass remains alive and pre-existing tissues flourish when provided with water,” said Brett Williams, a plant biologist from QUT who is part of Lunaria 1.
Scientists are using the project to test if plants can be grown on the lunar surface for food, medicine and oxygen production, marking a crucial first step for establishing future human colonies on the satellite.
Moreover, the project also seeks to develop new forms of boosting sustainable food production on the Earth, especially after natural disasters that have become increasingly common due to the climate crisis.
“The extreme conditions that Earth is facing due to climate change present challenges for how we manage food security in the future,” Byrt said.
The space mission that includes Lunaria One is being jointly carried out by Australia’s ANU, QUT and RMIT University and Ben Gurion University in Israel as well as Israel-based group SpaceIL. EFE