Researchers Grew Tiny Plants in Moon Dirt Collected Decades Ago

Photograph: Tyler Jones

NASA performed a few experiments following the 1960s and ’70s moon landing missions that brought back lunar material, but those were nothing like what Paul and Ferl attempted. “A small amount of regolith material was placed in contact with the plants, and the data showed there were no major negative effects,” says Sharmila Bhattacharya, NASA’s chief scientist of astrobionics. But Paul and Ferl’s new research is more ambitious. “This is a unique experiment, to actually grow those plants in the regolith, of course with supplementary material. This is the first time, and it’s why we’re quite excited,” Bhattacharya says.

Today, NASA doesn’t have much

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