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    Researchers were over the moon about the earth-shattering discovery that seeds can grow in moon soil in a first-of-its-kind test. Scientists at the University of Florida successfully planted seeds from the Arabidopsis thaliana plant, commonly known as thale cress, into teaspoon-sized samples of lunar soil collected during the 1969-1972 Apollo missions, which in turn sprouted days later. "This research is critical to NASA’s long-term human exploration goals as we’ll need to use resources found on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts living and operating in deep space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a Thursday statement. "This fundamental plant growth research is also a key example of how NASA is working to unlock agricultural innovations that could help us understand how plants might overcome stressful conditions in food-scarce areas here on Earth.” WATCH: WORLD GETS FIRST LOOK AT BLACK HOLE AT THE HEART OF MILKY WAY GALAXY The seeds sprouted just two days after they were planted. Around day six, the sprouts in the lunar sample began to look...
    For any astronauts hoping to survive on the surface of the moon, growing crops will be an essential. Now, scientists have taken 'one small step' towards growing plants on the lunar surface, after showing it's possible to grow thale cress in lunar soil – albeit here on Earth.  Researchers from the University of Florida grew the plants in soil collected by NASA during the Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions. The findings raise hopes that plants could be grown on the moon during future space missions, and even enable mankind to set up a lunar colony. 'For future, longer space missions, we may use the Moon as a hub or launching pad,' explained Professor Rob Ferl, one of the study's authors. 'It makes sense that we would want to use the soil that's already there to grow plants.' Scientists have taken 'one small step' towards growing plants on the lunar surface, after showing it's possible to grow thale cress in lunar soil Researchers from the University of Florida grew the plants in soil collected by NASA during the Apollo 11,...
    FOOD can be grown on the moon — paving the way for humans to colonise space. Scientists say lunar leeks and carrots could be even healthier than fruit and veg from Earth. 2Food can be grown on the moon and could be even healthier than fruit and veg from Earth 2Scientists say they found the stress of growing in alien soil boosts levels of protective compounds in plantsCredit: SWNS They found the stress of growing in alien soil boosts levels of protective compounds, commonly found in superfoods such as blueberries and kale. The experts cultivated thale cress — a small flowering plant from the same family as cauliflower and broccoli — in 12 soil samples from the Apollo 11, 12, and 17 lunar landings. It is the first time the experiment has been allowed, as the five-decades-old moon scrapings are considered “precious national treasures”. All the seeds sprouted after fertiliser, water and light were added. Read More on FoodLETTUCE IN You've been chopping your lettuce wrong, food fan reveals how to WITHOUT a knife But while the thale cress...
    One of the biggest hurdles that humans have to overcome before colonizing places like the moon or Mars is food—namely, how do we get it? If we ever expect to be a multi-planetary species, astronauts need to be able to grow and cultivate their own food sources. Perhaps it might be easier than we think. In a study published in the journal Nature on Thursday, researchers at the University of Florida were able to successfully grow plants in lunar soil samples taken from the Apollo 11, 12, and 17 missions. The findings crucially show it’s possible to grow plants in lunar soil, and set the stage for a world of extraterrestrial agriculture that could keep future colonists fed on the moon. “When humans move as a civilization, we always take our agriculture with us. We establish ourselves. That will be incredibly important on the moon,” Robert Ferl, professor of horticultural sciences at UF and lead author of the study, told reporters at a press conference earlier this week. He later added that growing food would be crucial to maintaining supplies...
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — For the first time, scientists have grown plants in soil from the moon collected by NASA’s Apollo astronauts. Researchers had no idea if anything would sprout in the harsh moon dirt and wanted to see if it could be used to grow food by the next generation of lunar explorers. The results stunned them. “Holy cow. Plants actually grow in lunar stuff. Are you kidding me?” said Robert Ferl of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Ferl and his colleagues planted thale cress in moon soil returned by Apollo 11′s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and other moonwalkers. The good news: All of the seeds sprouted. The downside was that after the first week, the coarseness and other properties of the lunar soil stressed the small, flowering weeds so much that they grew more slowly than seedlings planted in fake moon dirt from Earth. Most of the moon plants ended up stunted. Results were published Thursday in Communications Biology. The longer the soil was exposed to punishing cosmic radiation...
    Since the first moon landing in 1969, it’s long been a goal to establish lunar colonies. After all, the moon has water we could use, subterranean caves we could inhabit, and now, it seems, a native way to generate a steady source of usable energy. With the upcoming Artemis project from NASA that aims to bring humans back to the satellite, it’s more important than ever to research and invest in resources for a long-term lunar stay. Luckily, scientists in China might have discovered something that can help. In a new study published Thursday in the journal Joule, the researchers found that chemical compounds in lunar soil are capable of transforming carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and hydrocarbons like methane that can be used as fuel. The team says these chemical compounds can act as catalysts—substances that speed up chemical reactions—to form an extraterrestrial photosynthesis system. This means that lunar soil along with sunlight could be used to support long-term lunar living for colonies. It goes back to one big challenge standing in the way of sustainable living outside...
    Lunar soil could potentially be converted into rocket fuel to power future missions to Mars, a new study has found. Analysis of coarse and jagged dirt granules brought back by China's Chang'e 5 spacecraft found that regolith on the moon contains compounds that convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. The soil is rich in iron and titanium, which work as catalysts under sunlight and could turn carbon dioxide and water released by astronauts' bodies into oxygen, hydrogen and other useful by-products like methane to power a lunar base. As liquified oxygen and hydrogen make rocket fuel, it also opens the door for a cost-cutting interplanetary gas station on the moon for trips to the Red Planet and beyond. This is seen as a vital next step for space agencies around the world because it is so expensive to launch goods into orbit. Lunar soil could potentially be converted into rocket fuel to power future missions to Mars, a new study has found Analysis of coarse and jagged dirt granules brought back by China's Chang'e 5 spacecraft found that regolith on the moon contains...
    A sample of soil, gathered by Apollo astronauts 50 years ago from the lunar surface, is being opened by NASA scientists ahead of the first Artemis landing in 2025. The sample is being opened at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston by the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division (ARES).  When Apollo astronauts returned these samples around 50 years ago, NASA had the foresight to keep some of them unopened and pristine, in the hope future technology can be used to reveal more about the environment.  The team hope to learn more about the sample and the lunar surface itself, revealing details about the geologic history and evolution of the moon. Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said understanding the history will help planners understand the types of soil to be expected when the first woman and first person of color land on the surface. Artemis will return more samples to the Earth, bringing back cold and sealed pieces of rock and soil from the South Pole. A sample of soil, gathered by Apollo astronauts 50 years ago...
    China's Chang'e-5 lander is the first craft on the lunar surface to detect signs of water inside moon rocks and soil, Chinese scientists claim.  The lander arrived on the moon on December 1, 2020, as part of a mission to return samples of rock and soil to the Earth, which it achieved on December 16. While on the moon, the lander used its on-board instruments to take a number of scientific measurements, including the spectral reflectance of moon rocks. This is a process where light reflected from the rocks can indicate the chemical make-up, including levels of molecules such as oxygen and hydrogen. The Chinese team found that in some types of rock, at a mid-latitude on the moon, molecules of H20 were present at about 120 parts per million, and others at 180ppm. This confirms findings made by NASA using Earth-based telescopes, that took measurements of moon rocks to find evidence of water molecules. It is hoped that astronauts living on the moon in the future will be able to extract the molecular oxygen and hydrogen, to produce water and...
    Australia has agreed to build a 20-kilogram (44 44) semi-autonomous lunar rover to go to the moon in 2026 by NASA in search of oxygen. The rover will collect soil containing oxides and NASA will use separate equipment to extract oxygen from that soil, the government statement said. Oxygen taken from the lunar surface will eventually be used to maintain human presence on the moon and to support future missions to Mars. This untitled image, released by the Australian Space Agency, depicts an imaginary scene on the moon. Australia has agreed to build a 20-kilogram (44 44) semi-autonomous lunar rover to go to NASA’s moon in search of oxygen by 2026, the Australian government announced on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. AP) Anthony Murfett, deputy director of the Australian Space Agency, said NASA was fascinated by the technology of remotely controlling 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) of dump trucks carrying iron ore from mines in northwestern Australia. NASA executive Bill Nelson said the deal strengthened relations with Australia and spanned more than 50 years with space exploration. The deal depends...
    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has agreed to build a 20-kilogram (44-pound) semi-autonomous lunar rover for NASA to take to the moon as early as 2026 in search of oxygen. The rover would collect soil that contains oxides and NASA would use separate equipment to extract oxygen from that soil, a government statement said. Oxygen extracted from the lunar surface would ultimately be used to sustain a human presence on the moon and support future missions to Mars. Australian Space Agency deputy head Anthony Murfett said NASA had been impressed by technology used to remotely control from 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) huge dump trucks that transport iron ore from mines in northwest Australia. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the agreement would strengthen a relationship with Australia related to space exploration that dates back more than 50 years. The agreement depends on the rover meeting a range of conditions during its development Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    Australia will land on the moon for the first time in the nation's history after Scott Morrison signed a deal with NASA. The American space agency will fly an Australian-made rover to the moon sometime after 2026. Australian businesses and research organisations will bid for up to $50million of taxpayer cash to build the rover, with applications submitted early next year. Residents watch the 'Super Flower Blood Moon' at Bondi Beach in Sydney on May 2026 The semi-autonomous rover weighing less than 20kg will collect lunar soil and NASA will then try to extract oxygen.  This is a key step towards establishing a sustainable human presence on the moon because humans need oxygen to breathe.  Prime Minster Scott Morrison wants to triple the size of Australia's small space industry by 2030 and create 20,000 jobs in the process.  'This is an incredible opportunity for Australia to succeed in the global space sector, and is central to our Government's vision to secure more jobs and a larger share of the growing space economy,' the Prime Minister said. 'Our Government has invested...
    TOKYO (AP) — Japanese space agency scientists said Thursday they plan to bring soil samples back from the Mars region ahead of the United States and China, which started Mars missions last year, in hopes of finding clues to the planet’s origin and traces of possible life. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, plans to launch an explorer in 2024 to land on Phobos, a Martian moon, to collect 10 grams (0.35 ounce) of soil and bring it back to Earth in 2029. The rapid return trip is expected to put Japan ahead of the United States and China in bringing back samples from the Martian region despite starting later, project manager Yasuhiro Kawakatsu said in an online news conference. NASA’s Perseverance rover has landed in a Mars crater where it is to collect 31 samples that are to be returned to Earth with help from the European Space Agency as early as 2031. China in May became the second country to land and operate a spacecraft on Mars and plans to bring back samples around 2030. JAXA...
    China has shared a look at the first moon samples to be brought back to Earth in more than 45 years. The lunar regolith was collected by the nation's Chang'e 5 mission that returned in December with 3.8 pounds of soil and rocks from our natural satellite. The images show the samples as small as dust particles up to larger chunks, along  with samples inside a crystal container that will go on display at the National Museum of China. The container is designed like a ritual Chinese wine vessel, or 'zun,' and holds the lunar dust within a hallow sphere that represents both the moon and the Chang'5 re-entry capsule. Scroll down for video  China has shared a look at the first moon samples to be brought back to Earth in more than 45 years China's moon mission was the first to return with samples since the former Soviet Union's Lunar 24 robotic mission in 1976 and is now the 21st mission to set down on the lunar surface. The Chang'e-5 took off atop the Long March-5 rocket in...
    China’s Moon-sampling probe is on its way home after more than a week. Xinhua (via Reuters) reports Chang’e-5’s orbiter-returner has started its return trip to Earth with a cargo of lunar rocks and soil. You’ll have to wait a while for the vessel to come back, though. The complete mission was expected to wrap up in 23 days, so a touchdown in Mongolia is expected around December 16th or 17th. If successful, this will be the first batch of “fresh” Moon samples since the 1970s. China will also be just the third country to have collected lunar soil after the US and the Soviet Union. The probe was meant to bring back about 4.4lbs of samples, although it’s not certain how much is coming back to Earth.
    Space exploration is expensive, and NASA is always looking for ways to economize.  The US space agency will be saving some big bucks by paying a Colorado startup just $1 to collect soil samples from the moon. The company, Lunar Outpost, has agreed to send a rover to the lunar South Pole in 2023 to collect samples for NASA. Two other companies, Tokyo-based iSpace and Southern California aerospace manufacturer Masten Space Systems, also won low-bid contracts—for $5000 and $15,000 respectively. Lunar Outpost says it was able to make such a supremely low bid because it was already planning collect moon dust from the lunar surface. Scroll down for video Lunar Outpost's  Mobile Autonomous Prospecting Platform (MAPP) rover during night testing at Colorado's Great Sand Dunes. The company has agreed to be paid just $1 by NASA to collect soil samples from the surface of the moon in 2023 NASA put out a call for companies willing to collect between 1.7 and 17 ounces of regolith, or soil, from anywhere on the Moon. The agency capped bidding at $250,000, saying...
    China released video footage on Wednesday The arrival of its Chang-5 robotic spacecraft on the lunar surface. Running on a landscape sprayed with ditches on Tuesday, the camera pauses for a moment before the start of a breathtaking fall. A moment later, a splash of moon dust and the shadow of a lander indicate that the touch of the probe has been successful. “The most accurate and exciting landing is in the middle of the most important geography section in the vast Song 5 candidate landing region,” said James W. Brown, a professor of geography at Brown University. Head III said in an email. Dr. Head collaborated with Chinese scientists Collect rocks and soil to bring back to earth. At 10:11 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, the lander landed, as planned, on a part of the moon called Mons Romker. The spacecraft is located in the middle of a basalt volcano about two billion years younger than parts of the moon explored four decades ago by NASA’s Apollo astronauts and the Soviet Union’s robot Luna Landers. Within hours of arriving...
    (CNN)China has successfully landed a lunar probe on the surface of the moon, the country's National Space Administration said Tuesday. The robotic spacecraft, named Chang'e 5 after the mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, will spend two days on the moon collecting soil and rock samples, guided by mission control on the ground, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported. It's the first attempt to collect rocks from the moon by any country since the 1970s. The probe's robotic arm will scoop up rocks from the surface, and a drill will bore into the ground to collect soil. The samples, expected to weigh about 2 kilograms (4.5 pounds), will be sealed into a container in the spacecraft.Chinas #ChangE5 spacecraft successfully lands on the near side of the moon. This is the worlds first moon-sample mission for more than 40 years. #LunarProbe pic.twitter.com/pfySXUCAPG— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) December 1, 2020 If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the United States and the former Soviet Union decades ago.Read MoreAstronauts from the United States...
    The Chinese government says a robot probe launched to return lunar rocks to Earth has landed on the moon. The official China News Service said the Chang'e 5 "successfully landed on the moon in the pre-selected landing area." It gave no more details. The probe adds to a string of increasingly ambitious missions by a Chinese space program that aims eventually to land a human on the moon. This animation released by China Central Television (CCTV) shows Chang'e-5 probe flying to moon. CCTV via Reuters The spacecraft is expected to collect about 4 pounds of rock and soil samples, and return them to Earth for laboratory analysis. Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox If successful, the Chang'e 5 mission will make China only the third nation, after the United States and the former Soviet Union, to bring moon rocks back to Earth. The 8,335-pound Chang'e 5 spacecraft, named after the mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, is made up of four major components: a lunar orbiter, a sample return craft, a lander carrying science instruments and sample...
    Humans are headed back to the moon. NASA wants to make it happen by 2024 — that might not happen, by the way — but even if it doesn’t meet that ridiculous deadline, we’ll see crewed missions to the lunar surface sooner rather than later. As moon exploration ramps up, scientists are doing their best to learn how to grow things on other worlds, with the assumption being that mankind is going to need to set up shop on the moon or Mars and when they do, they’re going to need something to eat. The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on the work of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but researchers recently began at-home experiments to get an idea for how radishes might grow in soil from the moon. In a new blog post on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory site, the scientists explain how working from home hasn’t hindered their efforts to test the growth of plants in different soil conditions. “We’re trying to show astronauts can use horticulture to grow their own food on the moon,” NASA scientist...
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