Prof. Farrant sends seeds to the Moon

13 Mar 2023 | By Cooper
Myrothmanus going to the Moon
13 Mar 2023 | By Cooper

In April 2022, the Australian initiative, Lunaria One selected a number of candidates for a free place on board a commercial Lunar Lander travelling to the Moon’s surface in early 2025 as part of the ALEPH-1 programme to grow plants there. Amongst these, was Prof. Jill Farrant of MCB who  was asked to provide expertise and seed for the mission. 

In particular, she will be sending one of the desiccation tolerant plants to which she has devoted years of research - Myrothamnus flabellifoila, the original "Resurrection Plant", which is endemic to southern Africa. 

According to Lunaria One, "this mission, which will involve a number of firsts in space travel history, will include a set of seeds and plants carefully selected to withstand the conditions present on the transit to the moon, as well as on the surface. By landing our payload on the Lunar surface, we aim to show growth (germination and/or growth from dormant plant state) within the first 72 hours of landing."

"The motivation for such a mission comes from humanity’s passion to explore and see life thrive in barren landscapes. We see the ALEPH-1 payload as the first step towards our eventual goal of providing plants for food, medicine, oxygen production and general wellbeing for future astronauts inhabiting the moon and beyond."