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Artemis III: NASA’s mission to grow plants on the moon

by | 02 Apr 24 | News | 0 comments

It’s one small seedling for man, and one giant leaf for mankind in NASA’s upcoming plant-growth study.

NASA’s Artemis III Moon mission, currently planned for 2026, will not only mark the first time humans have walked on the lunar surface since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

It will also see the astronauts carry out a series of experiments in an effort to support long-term platnary stays, on both the moon and eventually Mars.

LEAF (Lunar Effects on Agricultural Flora) is set to be the first of three experiments, which will study how space crops fare in the lunar environment.

In a statement released by NASA, it says “”LEAF will be the first experiment to observe plant photosynthesis, growth and systemic stress responses in space-radiation and partial gravity.

“Plant growth and development data, along with environmental parameters measured by LEAF, will help scientists understand the use of plants grown on the moon for both human nutrition and life support on the moon and beyond.”

The plants established in the experiment will not be the first-ever flora on the moon; back in January 2019 China sent cotton plants to the lunar far side on its robotic Chang’e 4 mission.

Those seeds did not survive long, so it is hoped that LEAF provides a look into the full growth cycle of plants on the moon.

The other two experiments selected are the Lunar Environment Monitoring Station and the Lunar Dielectric Analyser.

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