The downside was that after the first week, the coarseness and other properties of the lunar soil stressed the small, flowering weeds so much that they grew more slowly than seedlings planted in fake moon dirt from Earth. Most of the moon plants ended up stunted.

For the first time, scientists have grown plants in soil from the moon collected by NASA’s Apollo astronauts.

Researchers had no idea if anything would sprout in the harsh moon dirt and wanted to see if it could be used to grow food by the next generation of lunar explorers. The results stunned them.

“Holy cow. Plants actually grow in lunar stuff. Are you kidding me?” said Robert Ferl of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Ferl and his colleagues planted thale cress in moon soil returned by Apollo 11′s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and other moonwalkers. The good news: All of the seeds sprouted.

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