Is it possible to have a green thumb in outer space?
NASA is looking to answer that question. A group of scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California are hoping to plant and grow a garden on the surface of the moon. The Lunar Plant Growth Habitat project is hoping to put some basil, flowers and turnips on the moon in late 2015.
“We are constructing a small technology demonstration unit to study germination of plants in lunar gravity and radiation on the moon,” said NASA in a statement on the project’s website. “This will be the first life-sciences experiment on another world.”
NASA plans to launch the lunar garden using a private space company.
And while the garden will include some plants that are familiar to many gardeners, it won’t necessarily resemble a garden found on our planet.
When the garden lands on the moon, it will automatically trigger a small reservoir to squirt water on nutrient-rich filter paper. The dissolved nutrients will trickle down to the seeds, prompting the seeds to start growing. NASA will photograph the seeds’ progress to see what happens to the plants as they grow with less gravity and increased radiation.
In addition to the goal of an ever-so-slightly greener moon, NASA is also looking to make this an educational opportunity. The agency also has plans to send replica habitats to schools across the country so that the experiment can be repeated in the classroom.