Checking out the moon for plant growth

Forget about planting by the moon. Let’s step up to growing plants on the moon.

Wieger Wamelink, an ecologist at Alterra Wageningen UR, is about to start researching whether it is possible to grow plants there (see here).

The work anticipates travel to Mars – eventually.

“Mars is still a long way off,” says Wieger Wamelink, explaining his plans. “But the moon is closer, so it would be more realistic to establish a colony there. What’s more, we already know the mineral composition of the soil on the moon, and of moon dust. So what I’m aiming to find out now is whether plants will grow in moon substrate, or whether certain essential elements are lacking. This has never been done before. We are gradually discovering more about Mars, which is why the planet has been included in this research.”

Wamelink’s research will compare the requirements of certain species of plants with the mineral composition of the soil on the moon and Mars.

At a later stage, Wamelink wants to look into the food safety of agricultural crops grown in human-made conditions on the moon in moon soil. The first trial crops will be planted in greenhouses on 2 April.

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