Scientists grow plants in lunar dirt, next stop moon

By MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Scientists for the first time have grown plants in soil from the moon collected by NASA’s Apollo astronauts. The University of Florida researchers had no idea if anything would grow in moon dirt. So they planted thale cress last year in lunar soil returned by Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and other moonwalkers. All the seeds sprouted. But the plants ended up stunted. Scientists plan to plant more thale cress before possibly moving on to other vegetation. NASA says the timing for such an experiment was finally right as the space agency looks to put astronauts back on the moon.