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Home Scienza e Tecnica Tests conducted in Italy on using worms to make the moon fertile

Tests conducted in Italy on using worms to make the moon fertile

Scienza e Tecnica
Plants born from soil similar to lunar soil, made fertile by earthworms (credit: Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna)

Tests done in Italy suggest that worms may have the potential to turn the moon’s grey, dusty surface into fertile, cultivable soil. The research on Eisenia fetida, which is commonly known as the manure worm or the redworm, was coordinated by Pisa’s Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies and featured the collaboration of the Gran Sasso Science Institute (GSSI).

“The earthworm’s beneficial effects on soils may be promising to improve lunar soil fertility, enabling the use of local substrates for space farming,” wrote the authors of the study, which was published in the Heliyon journal, Cesare Stefanini and Donato Romano of the Sant'Anna School’s BioRobotics Institute, Chiara Pucciariello of Sant’Anna’s Center of Plant Sciences and Adriano Di Giovanni of the GSSI.

Conceived thinking of future long-term missions on the moon, the experiment was conducted by putting the worms into terrain that simulates the lunar regolith, the whole of sediments, dust and stones what make up the moon’s substrate.

“A small group of engineers, entomologists and plant scientists put themselves before a great scientific challenge: how to make fertile the lunar soil, which is more aggressive and hostile to life than the earth’s soil,” said Stefanini. “We are the first in the world who have managed to show that a species of worm is capable of surviving on this surface. It’s a first step towards the possibility of farming on the moon”.

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