Growing salad on the moon

NASA has finished its planning and is ready to go. Humans will soon be returning to the moon, this time in a manned base. But, if this project is to succeed, astronauts must be able to grow their own food. Norwegian researchers are in the process of making this possible.

The lunar "soil," or regolith as geologists call it, is essentially a powder in which it is difficult to grow plants. As if this wasn't enough, the moon is characterized by temperatures that can reach 200 degrees during the day and fall to as low as minus 183 degrees at night.

So says SINTEF researcher Galina Simonsen. However, in spite of this, Simonsen and her colleagues working as part of the international project LunarPlant, which is being headed by NTNU Social Research and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Space (CIRiS), believe that it will be possible to grow food plants on the moon.

Meeting this challenge requires a rational utilization of available resources, combined with sufficient light and an artificial atmosphere. There is also a need to find a replacement for fertile soil.


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