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Cape Canaveral: For the first time, scientists have grown plants in soil from the moon. Researcher­s had no idea if anything would sprout in the harsh 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 Institute of Food and Agricultur­al Sciences at the University of Florida. Ferl and his colleagues planted thale cress in soil returned by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and subsequent moonwalker­s. The downside was that the coarseness and other properties of the lunar soil stunted growth. Results were published Thursday in Communicat­ions Biology.

 ?? TYLER JONES/UF/IFAS VIA AP ?? A researcher at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultur­al Sciences harvests thale cress growing in lunar soil.
TYLER JONES/UF/IFAS VIA AP A researcher at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultur­al Sciences harvests thale cress growing in lunar soil.

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