NASA will bring a greenhouse to the Moon

After more than 50 years without setting foot on the Moon, the Artemis mission has become one of the most anticipated in recent decades. Not only because several generations will have the opportunity to see this historic milestone, but also because the astronauts on the mission They will bring a small greenhouse to study how crops adapt to the lunar environment.

The greenhouse is part of a NASA project called LEAF (lunar effects on agricultural flora) and could become “the first experiment to observe photosynthesis, growth and systemic stress responses of plants in space radiation and partial gravity,” according to a statement from the space agency.

LEAF will be led from Earth by Christine Escobar of Space Lab Technologies. The experiment could help shed light on how to grow food in space, something that many consider essential when exploring other planets. Although the reality is that, technically, it would not be the first time that plants have been sent to the lunar surface. In 2019, China sent cotton seeds to the far side of the Moon as part of its Chang'e 4 mission. The seeds sprouted days later, becoming the first biological experiment of any kind outside our planet.

“The growth and development data of the plants – the statement notes -, together with the environmental parameters measured by LEAF, will help scientists understand the use of plants grown on the Moonboth for human nutrition and for sustaining life on the Moon and beyond”

In addition to LEAF, NASA also selected two other scientific experiments destined for the surface of the Moon. The first of these is the Lunar Environment Monitoring Station (LEMS) which involves locate a set of autonomous seismometers designed to detect earthquakes moles.

The second experiment is the Lunar Dielectric Analyzer (LDA), a device designed to measure the ability of lunar dust to conduct electricity, something that is key to our search for ice on our satellite.

“These three scientific instruments will be our first opportunity since the Apollo missions, to take advantage the unique capabilities of human explorers to carry out transformative lunar science,” says Joel Kearns, one of those responsible for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

All this, obviously, is subject to the Artemis 3 mission, scheduled for 2026, progressing as planned.