Hoping to pave way for self-sustaining lunar bases, institute that helps turn Negev and other arid areas fertile preparing to blast mini-greenhouse of seeds and plants into space.
Israeli scientists are planning to try growing a range of seeds into plants on the moon, in the most ambitious attempt yet at extraplanetary agriculture.
The project is the next frontier for a research institute located in the Negev Desert in Israel’s south, a region famously inhospitable to agriculture but which has nevertheless been made to bloom in populated areas.
The Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Beersheba’s Ben Gurion University investigates how to grow food in such arid regions on Earth — and is now making its first foray into space.
Astronauts on the International Space Station grow plants, but agriculture elsewhere in space has so far been limited to a Chinese cotton seed that sprouted on the moon in 2019.
Ben Gurion researchers are working with universities in Australia and South Africa to prepare a tiny 2-kilogram greenhouse with a range of seeds and plants that will head to the moon in 2025. It will travel aboard Beresheet 2, the second attempt at an unmanned moon landing by the Israeli SpaceIL nonprofit.