Okey, that's not everything they said but I can't write everything in the title. NASA says Mars's soil has the nutrients for growing plants, though there may not be the right amount depending on where the astronauts land, but that could be fixed with fertilizers. The ability to obtain food plus water and oxygen would be great for a self sustained base. Can plants grow with Mars' soil?

How about the Moon? Does the Moon's soil have the nutrients for growing plants?


Plant growth experiments have been done using both Mars and Lunar soil simulants. In a study published in 2014, growth and flowering in Mars simulants was better than Lunar simulants, but plants were able to germinate and grow in both simulants without addition nutrients.

However, the main thing plants need, more than soil nutrients, are water and carbon dioxide, which aren't part of the soil simulants. This is part of why data indicating possible water deposits near the Moon's poles by spacecraft such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Chandrayaan-1 is so important. Based on what we knew from Apollo era missions, there was no water on the Moon, but now we understand that there is water near the poles.

You can find the paper on the 2014 soil simulant experiments at https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0103138

  • $\begingroup$ Water can be formed from solar wind (hydrogen) and rocks (oxygen). Carbon dioxide is the more difficult one to get. $\endgroup$ – Oscar Lanzi Apr 26 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ My understanding was that carbon dioxide along with carbon monoxide and other carbon compounds could be created by heating lunar regolith to release simpler carbon molecules from more complex molecules in the regolith. However, at the moment I can't find a link to any experiments done on this. All that I can find are on releasing oxygen from lunar regolith. $\endgroup$ – teraKUHN May 3 at 16:24

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