NASA back to the moon: Artemis III mission wants to grow plants on the moon

NASA back to the moon: Artemis III mission wants to grow plants on the moon
NASA back to the moon: Artemis III mission wants to grow plants on the moon
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In 2026, astronauts on the Artemis III mission will do something that hasn’t happened in more than half a century: set foot on the moon. But this mission goes beyond a simple repetition of history; it introduces an ambitious scientific program that could change our relationship with the moon forever. Under the NASA banner, these space explorers will not only tread the dusty plains of our moon, but also conduct a series of experiments that will shed light on how life can thrive in the barren lunar environment.

Living in a moon greenhouse

One of the most fascinating experiments on board is LEAF (“Lunar Effects on Agricultural Flora”), which aims to investigate how plants respond to the moon’s unique conditions. “LEAF will be the first experiment to observe plant photosynthesis, growth and systemic stress responses in space radiation and partial gravity,” NASA stated. This research will not only teach us about the possibility of food production on the moon, but also provide insights into how plants can contribute to life support systems for long-duration missions.

The moon as a scientific laboratory

In addition to LEAF, two other experiments will be conducted: the Lunar Environment Monitoring Station (LEMS) and the Lunar Dielectric Analyzer (LDA). LEMS will look for moonquakes and enrich our knowledge about the internal structure of the moon. LDA focuses on investigating the electrical properties of the moon’s dust and looking for signs of icy deposits, which could be crucial for future manned missions.

These experiments mark an important moment in the history of space travel. Not only because the Artemis III mission will be the first manned moon landing since Apollo 17 in 1972, but also because of its inclusiveness; NASA announced that this mission will bring a woman and a person of color to the moon for the first time.

Beyond the horizon

This scientific endeavor near the moon’s south pole, an area rich in water ice that could be essential to supporting future crew stations, highlights NASA’s long-term vision of using the moon as a springboard for further solar system research. With the Artemis missions, NASA hopes to establish a lasting human presence on the moon, paving the way for further exploration, possibly even Mars.

These exciting experiments underline the potential of the Artemis III mission to deepen our knowledge of the moon and explore the feasibility of long-term human sojourn beyond Earth. The adventure on the moon in 2026 promises not only scientific breakthroughs, but also a new chapter in our story of space exploration.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: NASA moon Artemis III mission grow plants moon

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