Ahead of the 2025 Beresheet2 mission, a team of researchers led by Israel’s Ben-Gurion University has been trying to find plants that can survive in space!
According to a research professor involved in the project, “the future of humanity will depend on being able to reach the stars.”
With that being said, it appears that having access to rare plants that are able to “come back from the dead” and also survive extreme weather may just be what we need to eventually grow crops in outer space!
These unique organizations are known as resurrection plants for obvious reasons, and they are able to survive for months or even years without water, depending on the species.
The team of researchers includes scientists from Israel, as mentioned before, but also from South Africa and Australia, all coming together to test and find out which plant species can thrive on the moon.
This experiment proposed by Lunaria One is here leading to SpaceIL’s Beresheet2 launch planned for 2025 and is referred to as Aleph.
Prof. Simon Barak, who is coordinating a team of imaging specialists and plant biologists, said that “They are plants you can dry to almost being crisp and still make them survive like that for years. When you rewater them they pretty much come back to life; they expand and just look like the original adult plant they were before.”
As for the plants they are looking into, they need to not only survive the space travel that will last months but also continue to thrive despite the extreme temperature changes, cosmic radiation and low gravity conditions.
The team will also bring seeds in addition to the plants kept inside a sealed area that replicates our atmosphere in one of the landers.
Barak went on to share that “Once we land, we power on and irrigate, we only have a 72 hour window for the experiment. So we need plants that are going to germinate really quickly from their seeds and become big enough that we can monitor them. The resurrection plants will expand and be big enough that we can photograph them within those 72 hours.”
If the team is successful, this will be the first time humanity manages to properly test plant growing conditions on the moon.