To Grow Where No One Has Grown Before
As China launched a robotic probe to the Moon today with a goal to become the 3rd nation to reach the lunar surface, a somewhat more humble story was growing in the world media about NASA’s plans to send plants to the Moon with the Moon Express robotic lander in 2015. Because its a NASA payload, any organization with the recognized commitment and ability to reach the lunar surface will have a chance to fly the "LP-X" Lunar Plant experiment, but of course we hope it flies with Moon Express first.
Media have picked up on a low-key revelation by NASA about work underway on the “LP-X: The First flight of Lunar Plant Growth Experiment” and the story has gone somewhat viral, not surprisingly, as it did when a similar concept was announced in 2009 as a private initiative called “Lunar Oasis”, with my friends at Paragon Space Development Corporation, U.S. Congress Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Chris McKay supporting the science team.
Here are some fun headlines from growing stories around the world:
It’s a great story that connects with every day people across many cultures. Life is complex and the lessons learned from the first extraterrestrial crop will be important. It’s inspirational science at its best. LP-X Principal Investigator Dr. Chris McKay of NASA Ames knows this and has championed the idea of sending a plant experiment to the Moon and to Mars for many years. We’ve been thrilled to work with Chris and his team at NASA Ames on the design concept and hope to accommodate the LP-X on our inaugural mission to the Moon in 2015, to grow where no one has grown before…