Hardy Earth Bacteria Can Grow in Lunar Soil

150cyanobacteriaCyanobacteria {wiki} could one day be grown in moon soil, which is inhospitable to other plants because its nutrients are locked up in minerals that are tough to break down. Igor Brown of NASA's Johnson Space Center says cyanobacteria are tough enough to survive and thrive in a lunar environment as long as they have water, air, and sunlight.
Brown says he envisions growth chambers for cyanobacteria being set up on the Moon, as part of a multi-step process for making use of the resources bound in the lunar soil. The chambers would be supplied with water, sunlight and lunar soil to allow the cyanobacteria to grow.

Cyanobacteria harvested from the chambers could then be further processed to make use of the elements they extract from the lunar soil. For example, they could be broken down by other bacteria, resulting in a nutrient-rich soup that could be used as fertiliser for food plants grown in hydroponic greenhouses. Methane given off by the breakdown of the cyanobacteria could be used as rocket fuel.

The tough cyanobacteria used in the experiment was taken from hot springs at Yellowstone National Park. Link -via Digg

(image credit: NSF)

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