Dawes Middle School students learn results of their lunar agriculture experiment

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Dawes Middle School students were back at the Nebraska Innovation Campus on Friday.

They were there in February to plant pea shoot seeds for the Plant the Moon project, which tests how well crops can grow in lunar soil.

After a couple months of growing and trimming, the plants were ready to be taken out of their pots and examined.

The students dug the plants out and rinsed them off before weighing them.

They were surprised to see pods on the plants in the lunar soil. They didn’t expect the plants to grow very well.

And indeed, they didn’t grow as well as those in the Earth soil.

Crops were also planted in a 1-to-1 mix of lunar and Earth soil and a mix with three parts lunar soil to one part Earth soil.

Cassie Palmer, a complex biosystems Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, predicted in February: “I think that the 1-to-1 mix is just going to perform better.”

And she was right.

“We know that for sure the growth rate is affected when you harvest, and we also saw that the size of the plants, the shape of the plants and the color of the plants is a lot worse off in lunar soil compared to normal soil,” Palmer said Friday.

She also wouldn’t recommend eating the pea shoots because of the chemical nature of the lunar soil.

Much more research would need to be done to safely consume them.

The students will find out May 15 if NASA picked their project for an award.

Categories: Education News, Lancaster, News