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Waspie_Dwarf

Can plants grow on the moon?

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Can plants grow on the moon? NASA plans test in 2015

(Phys.org) —NASA is planning to launch a milestone experiment involving growing plants on the moon. The target date is 2015, when the agency will deposit plants on the moon's surface. The initiative is being driven by the Lunar Plant Growth Habitat team. They intend to use coffee-can sized containers designed to protect the plants against harsh elements of the climate, and will also provide cameras, sensors, and electronics in order to relay information about how the plants fare back to earth. NASA's plan is "to develop a very simple sealed growth chamber that can support germination over a five to-ten day period in a spacecraft on the Moon."

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They grow on the Space Station, so they should grow on the Moon too. I suppose it will be watering them that will be an issue, like in the ISS.

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They grow on the Space Station, so they should grow on the Moon too.

Really! On the space station they aren't exposed to 2 weeks of day light followed by 2 weeks of night.

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Really! On the space station they aren't exposed to 2 weeks of day light followed by 2 weeks of night.

Nor an ungodly amount of radiation, and the overall cruel vacuum of space.

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This is why it's called science I suppose. Never know till we try.

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Nor an ungodly amount of radiation, and the overall cruel vacuum of space.

I very much doubt that the plants will be exposed to the vacuum of space, there is no point carrying out an experiment to see if plants can survive in conditions that you know they can't.

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I very much doubt that the plants will be exposed to the vacuum of space, there is no point carrying out an experiment to see if plants can survive in conditions that you know they can't.

Well those pesky micro meteorites might have something to say about that...

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If they grew enough cactus it would transform the moon into the wild west.

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I suppose it will be watering them that will be an issue,

"The idea, according to the space scientists, is “to develop a very simple sealed growth chamber that can support germination over a five-10 day period in a spacecraft on the moon,” with filter paper used to feed dissolved nutrients to the plant".

The habitats will have to regulate their own water consumption, temperature and power supply.

“Upon landing on the moon a trigger would release a small reservoir of water wetting the filter paper and initiating germination of the seeds. The air in the sealed container would be adequate for more than five days of growth. No additional air supply or air processing would be necessary. The seedlings would be photographed at intervals with sufficient resolution to compare with growth in Earth controls. We would use the natural sunlight on the moon as the source of illumination for plant germination as a first ISRU (in situ resource utilization) demonstration,” the scientists reported on the space agency’s website.

http://rt.com/news/nasa-grow-plants-moon-420/

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I have a vague memory that scientists have successfully grown plants in lunar soil - either actual material returned to Earth on an Apollo mission or a closely matching simulant. However I'll leave it to the experts to determine whether it'd be better to grow plants hydroponically or in lunar soil. I suspect the former, given that grains of lunar soil are extremely rough and abrasive.

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I have a vague memory that scientists have successfully grown plants in lunar soil - either actual material returned to Earth on an Apollo mission or a closely matching simulant. However I'll leave it to the experts to determine whether it'd be better to grow plants hydroponically or in lunar soil. I suspect the former, given that grains of lunar soil are extremely rough and abrasive.

Yes I think hydroponics is the way to go...heres a page on plants grown on the ISS

http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2012/121207-plants-grow-space-station-science/

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If they grew enough cactus it would transform the moon into the wild west.

And enough rice and bananas and coconuts and we could all live there.
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Try the Moonflower Vine (Calonyction aculeatum) it grows like a weed on Earth!

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Look what happened with the Biosphere experiments . Lot's of money to prove it wouldn't work .

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Look what happened with the Biosphere experiments . Lot's of money to prove it wouldn't work .

It's hard to put a planet's ecosystem in a bottle. Even if it had worked flawlessly, it's another matter to transport all that water/soil/biomass to space and achieve the same results. If you ever saw "Silent Running" it was a nice idea, but not necessarily practical.

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The Question:

Really! On the space station they aren't exposed to 2 weeks of day light followed by 2 weeks of night.

The Answer:

....there is no point carrying out an experiment to see if plants can survive in conditions that you know they can't.
Edited by DieChecker

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Look what happened with the Biosphere experiments . Lot's of money to prove it wouldn't work .

I believe recently that program has started up again

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What's truly amazing about this is the cost of the project. Pennies on the dollar to what it would have cost just a decade ago. As soon as there is a viable economic reason to go to the moon this sort of thing will become commonplace very quickly. With a cost of just a million or two, private entrprise is going to start dreaming up all sorts of things to try up there.

Pretty cool.

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What's truly amazing about this is the cost of the project. Pennies on the dollar to what it would have cost just a decade ago. As soon as there is a viable economic reason to go to the moon this sort of thing will become commonplace very quickly. With a cost of just a million or two, private entrprise is going to start dreaming up all sorts of things to try up there.

Pretty cool.

Well keep your eyes on the Chinese then...they are just about to land on the moon..and have real plans for a moonbase

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Look what happened with the Biosphere experiments . Lot's of money to prove it wouldn't work .

The Biosphere 2 experiments were to demonstrate that a closed system could work. You are right, they failed to do that. What they did not demonstrate (and were not designed to demonstrate) is whether planets could be grown on the Moon (or any other celestial body) in a non-closed system (i.e. water, oxygen, etc could be added from an outside source).

The discovery of water ice at the lunar poles means that future Moon colonies have a potential source of water and oxygen that does not need to be flown up from Earth. If crops can be grown on the Moon such a colony could be self sufficient without the need for a closed system. As such the Biosphere 2 experiments are largely irrelevant.

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