Australian scientists are aiming to grow plants on the moon by 2025 in a new mission unveiled Friday that they said could pave the way for a future colony.
Plant biologist Brett Williams, of the Queensland University of Technology, said seeds would be carried by the Bear blade 2 spacecraft, a private Israeli moon mission.
They would be watered after landing in the sealed chamber and monitored for signs of germination and growth.
Plants will be chosen based on how well they handle extreme conditions and how quickly they germinate, he said.
A likely choice is an Australian “resurrection grass” that can survive without water in a dormant state.
“The project is an early step toward growing plants for food, medicine and oxygen production, all of which are critical to establishing human life on the moon,” the researchers said in a statement.
Caitlin Byrt, an associate professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, said the research was also relevant to fears of food security due to climate change.
“If you can make a system for growing plants on the moon, then you can make a system for growing food in some of the most challenging environments on Earth,” Byrt said in a statement.
The Lunaria One organization is leading the project, which involves scientists from Australia and Israel.