- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2013

NASA is sending seeds to the moon in 2015 to see if it’s possible to grow a vegetable garden and, ultimately, if humans can ever live there.

They’re sending the seeds in sealed containers, which are rigged to release a small reservoir of water upon landing, The Daily Mail reported. A team of scientists, called the Lunar Plant Growth Habitat group, will monitor the seeds’ growth from Earth, and test how they react to lunar gravity, radiation and various other stresses.

Among the seeds: Basil, turnips and Arabidopsis, a plant that’s related to cabbage and mustard, The Daily Mail said.

“[The seeds] can test the lunar environment for us, acting as a canary in a coal mine,” said one NASA spokesman, in The Daily Mail report. “If we send plants and they thrive, then humans probably can.”

That theory is based on the fact that both humans and plants need the same elements to survive — food, water, air. Scientists say that if the plants survive 14 days, that means they can sprout in the radiation. If they survive for 60 days, that means they can both sprout and reproduce.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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