NASA announced in official press release plans to grow plants on the moon by 2015 in a project, considered as the “A first step in long term presence”. “If we send plants and they thrive, then we probably can . they can be as sensitive as humans to environmental conditions, sometimes even more so. They carry genetic material that can be damaged by radiation as can that of humans”  NASA underlined.

NASA scientists will work together to create a 1kg “self-contained habitat” containing seeds and germination material payload on a commercial lunar lander-”the Moon Express lander, the spacecraft being built by the private company Moon Express , part of the Google Lunar X-prize competition.”

A 3D printed model of the habitat that will contain the seedlings and the materials they need to germinate.
“After landing in late 2015, water will be added to the seeds in the module and their growth will be monitored for 5-10 days and compared to Earth based controls. Seeds will include Arabidopsis, basil, and turnips,” Nasa say.

Scientists underlined that it difficult to encourage the plants growth in the hard environment of the moon. they added that partial gravity and radiation of the moon will need to be accounted for, although the plant will travel with their water and enough for five days.  the plants growth data will be gathered by cameras and sensors and sent back to Earth.

the experiment will scientists to determine the possibility of establishing human habitats in moon and the universe. “Can humans live and work on the moon? Not just visit for a few days but stay for decades? A first step in long term presence is to send plants,” explains Nasa.

Source: NASA Press Release

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