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First-ever lunar farm proves we can successfully grow plants on the moon

First-ever lunar farm proves we can successfully grow plants on the moon

Two new papers have revealed we can successfully grow plants on the moon

Ever since Neil Armstrong touched down on the moon back in 1969, scientists have been constantly working on learning new things about Earth's only natural satellite.

While it is hoped that people could be living on the moon within this decade, questions are now being raised over whether or not plants could also survive on the moon - and the findings have been unexpected.

It would be huge, considering the fact it means humans that choose to relocate to the moon would actually have food to eat.

Following four years of research, two new papers have suggested that plants may be able to survive in low gravity such as on the moon.

That is based on the only species out to sprout out of the four that were initially planted (one of the cotton seeds), though that itself is certainly still surprising for scientists and researchers.

When the robotic space mission Chang’e 4 landed on the moon in January 2019, it was carrying four plant species it sought to grow on the lunar surface.

Chang'e 4 has shown we can grow plants on the moon.
China National Space Administration (CNSA) via CNS / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by -/China National Space Administrat/AFP via Getty Images

While the best result is the sprouting of plants, a lot is actually learnt from whether crops grown on the moon are less productive or more fragile than those on Earth.

If that is the case, then scientists warned it could be a real big problem.

However, it should be worth noting these investigations are very much in their early days, and things may change over the coming years.

During the study, Chang’e 4 tested whether the moon's low gravity and high radiation would be a problem for plants, however these fears were quickly eased.

Plants growing on the moon? It could be possible soon.
Rami Alsayed/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It should definitely be worth mentioning though that Chang’e 4 did not grow the seeds in the lunar soil, but other experiments have shown it to be possible.

Nonetheless, the fact that this latest research proves we may be able to grow plants on the moon is hugely encouraging in the bid to get humans living over 384,000 km away.

"This experiment demonstrated that plants could grow on the lunar surface even in intense radiation, low gravity (1/6 g), and prolonged intense light," part of one of the studies read.

"It was also the first time that a biological experiment was carried out by humans on the Moon using sunlight from space to power photosynthesis."

Featured Image Credit: CNSA/CLEP / CNSA/Chongqing University

Topics: Science, Space