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In breakthrough test, Scientists grow plants in lunar soil
Scientists have for the first time grown plants in lunar soil brought back to Earth by astronauts in the Apollo missions
The researchers at the University of Florida (UF) in the US showed that plants can successfully sprout and grow in lunar soil.
The researchers designed a simple experiment: plant seeds in lunar soil, add water, nutrients and light, and record the results.
They only had 12 grammes -- just a few teaspoons -- of lunar soil with which to do this experiment.
On loan from NASA, this soil was collected during the Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions to the moon.
The researchers applied three times over the course of 11 years for a chance to work with the lunar regolith.
To grow their tiny lunar garden, the researchers used thimble-sized wells in plastic plates normally used to culture cells. Each well functioned as a pot.
The researchers found that nearly all the seeds planted in the lunar soils were able to sprout.
This research opens the door not only to someday growing plants in habitats on the Moon, but to a wide range of additional questions.