So you all know we’re moving to space soon, right? First of all, there are no melting glaciers on the moon. Second of all Newt Gingrich said we are. So it’s on. Now, one of the things we are really going to need on the moon is plants, so bees and vegetarians will have something to eat. And a recent study from researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville suggests that growing plants on the moon just might be a completely successful endeavor.
They also discovered something even more surprising: Plants don’t necessarily depend on gravity to grow. News flash: Plants have roots. News flash No. 2: Roots are important to the growth of plants. But apparently, they don’t just grow downward because of gravity.
[Researchers Anna-Lisa] Paul and [Robert] Ferl suspect that in the absence of gravity, other cues take over that enable the plant to direct its roots away from the seed and light-seeking shoot. Those cues could include moisture, nutrients, and light avoidance.
“Bottom line is that although plants ‘know’ that they are in a novel environment, they ultimately do just fine,” Paul said.
So there’s nothing suggesting that we won’t be able to grow plants in space. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they’re researching all this stuff because it is quite possible that one day we will have to move to space for good. Well, I’m going to try to be positive about this — why not — and say that I’m really looking forward to gardening on the moon.
- Plants Grow Fine Without Gravity, National Geographic
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