ANU astrophysicist and cosmologist Dr Brad Tucker says soil and plant samples brought back from the moon by the Apollo missions have been used to grow life for the first time.
“We do know that lunar soil is similar to earth’s but it’s weaker in a lot of nutrients so there’s a lot less nitrogen, there is some iron in the soil – now we get that on earth, there is carbon in the soil as well,” he told Sky News Australia.
Dr Tucker said scientists using this soil have “always grown analog”, meaning samples have been made using what the composition was assumed to be, but this time they took real moon dust and used it to grow plants.
“Now this is a really big step because they didn’t, you know, use fertiliser, they didn’t add supplements to the ground, they just said ‘is there enough to get it started’,” he said.
“There’s definitely the start of what is becoming a very important topic as we send humans back to the moon.”