In a recent breakthrough, scientists have discovered an innovative method to make lunar soil conducive to plant growth, a crucial advancement for future moon colonization efforts. The objective is to establish sustainable bases on the moon with a reliable food source, considering the challenges of cultivating traditional crops directly on lunar soil. Chinese researchers conducted a study where they introduced specific bacteria to lunar soil, enhancing its fertility by increasing the availability of a vital plant nutrient, phosphorus. Lab tests on simulated lunar soil showed treated soil yielding plants with extended stems, roots, and denser leaf clusters. This hints at the potential for cultivating plants in future lunar colonies and creating bio-friendly soil for lunar greenhouse agriculture.

The researchers, led by Yitong Xia from China Agricultural University, found that introducing bacteria changed lunar soil acidity, lowering the pH and allowing the dissolution of insoluble phosphate-containing minerals. This released essential phosphorus for plant growth. Xia stressed the significance, foreseeing the bacteria’s potential to transform the lunar regolith into a suitable substrate for plant cultivation, ensuring a stable food source for potential lunar settlements. In line with these breakthroughs, a Reuters report highlighted a significant advance in making lunar soil suitable for agriculture, potentially enabling prolonged human habitation on the moon by ensuring a reliable food source and establishing the foundation for sustainable agriculture to meet long-term needs.