Marigolds on the moon a possibility, scientists say
Scientists with the European Space Agency (Esa) say the day when flowers bloom on the Moon has come closer.
An Esa-linked team has shown that marigolds can grow in crushed rock very like the lunar surface, with no need for plant food.
Some see growing plants on the Moon as a step towards human habitation.
But the concept is not an official aim of Esa, and one of the agency's senior officials has dismissed the idea as “science fiction”.
The new research was presented at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) meeting in Vienna, the largest annual European gathering of scientists studying the Earth, its climate and its neighbours in space.
Bernard Foing, a senior scientist with the European Space Research and Technology Centre (Estec) in the Netherlands, believes growing plants on the Moon would be a useful as a tool to learn how life adapts to lunar conditions, and as a practical aid to establishing manned bases.