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ALEPH-1: Growing life on the Moon
ALEPH-1: Growing life on the moon.

THE MISSION

Our mission is simple: to grow life on the moon.

Through achieving this, we engage in scientific exploration, technological innovation and educational outreach.

 

Science

Our team of biology experts are developing solutions that will enable seeds and plants to survive the harsh transit to - and environment on - the Lunar surface. They work with our team of engineers who are designing containers to insulate and protect the precious cargo of live seeds and plants, as well as broadcast images of their growth back to Earth.

Outreach

We can't go anywhere without people. We plan to engage citizen scientists and school children from around the world to help us test a selection of plant species to identify varieties best suited for growth on the Lunar surface. Opening the scientific process to the public will allow us to provide unique educational opportunities, as well as inspire innovation.

ALEPH-1

A small payload of seeds and plants carried to the moon’s surface as part of the Beresheet2 mission in 2025

In April 2022, we were selected from a number of competitors for a place on-board Israeli non-profit organisation, SpaceIL's Beresheet2 lunar lander travelling to the Moon’s surface in early 2025.

This mission, which will involve a number of firsts in space travel history, will include a set of seeds and plants carefully selected to withstand the conditions present on the transit to the moon, as well as on the surface. By landing our payload on the Lunar surface, we aim to show growth (germination and/or growth from dormant plant state) within the first 72 hours of landing.

The motivation for such a mission comes from humanity’s passion to explore and see life thrive in barren landscapes. We see the ALEPH-1 payload as the first step towards our eventual goal of providing plants for food, medicine, oxygen production and general wellbeing for future astronauts inhabiting the moon and beyond.

Citizen Science, Outreach and Education Initiatives

The selection of seeds will be accomplished by a combination of rigorous scientific research and the innovation of the crowd. By engaging the public and school children alongside our panel of biology experts, we can harness the best Earth has to offer.

Whilst on the moon, the cameras and sensors present in the ALEPH-1 container will provide data on plant growth and health that we can compare with our control experiments here on Earth. This data will be made openly available via our website, along with data from participating schools and universities who will contribute to our international bank of control experiments.

By sharing the data and involving students from around the world, we aim to make ALEPH-1 everyone's chance to contribute to the future of space exploration.

Media

In October 2022, we released the following, announcing of the selection of the ALEPH-1 payload as one of the science projects to be included on-board SpaceIL's Beresheet2 lunar lander:

Australian initiative, Lunaria One, in collaboration with SpaceIL, to grow plants on the Moon

Australian space start-up, Lunaria One, has brought together an international consortium of engineers, biologists and educators with two goals: growing plants on the Moon by 2025 and democratising this extra-terrestrial endeavour in the process.

In April 2022, an experiment proposed by Lunaria One was selected by SpaceIL, a non-profit aerospace organization, to be included as one of the payloads on-board their Beresheet2 lander. The Beresheet2 mission, planned to launch in mid-2025, will consist of two landers landing on each side of the moon and an orbiter that will continue to orbit the moon for up to 5 years. Lunaria One’s payload, named the Australian Lunar Experiment Promoting Horticulture (ALEPH), will be the first in a series of scientific experiments to show that plants can survive and grow on the lunar surface.

Seen as a joint initiative for the benefit of all, the project involves a combined effort from a growing number of organisations across Australia and beyond, including QUT, RMIT, ANU and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, as well as several commercial companies. In addition to an expert team of biologists, engineers and educators, the ALEPH project will invite global citizens of any age, from any country, to participate in solving the unique challenges presented in this project.

“The central value guiding this project is that space exploration is for everyone; we don’t want a future where only autonomous and remote-controlled machines inhabit realms beyond earth, but where humans can live and thrive. The key to this is to get humans involved and to give them a say in how we get there. The ALEPH project aims to open up the science and engineering behind growing life on the Moon so that anyone can be involved.” – Lauren Fell, Director, Lunaria One.

The small chamber carrying seeds and/or resurrection plants that can survive in a dehydrated dormant state and germinate/reactivate when watered – will be carried to the lunar surface withi...n a hermetically sealed chamber. The plant species will be carefully selected based on fast germination/reactivation, and wide tolerance to temperatures to survive the trip there. After landing on the Moon, the plants’ growth will be monitored for 72 hours, with data and images transmitted back within 24 hours. In parallel, citizens worldwide will be invited to participate in Earth-based growth experiments in DIY chambers to compare data to address scientific unknowns. For example, will the plants on the Moon grow at the same rate at 1/6th gravity conditions? The project is seen as the first step towards the goal of growing plants for food, medicine, oxygen production, for future astronauts living on the moon and beyond, as well as learn new ways to maximise sustainable food production here on Earth. “Plant propagation is critical for our food security on Earth and in space. Space is an exceptional testing ground for how to propagate plants in the most extreme of environments. The extremes of conditions that Earth is facing as a consequence of climate change present challenges for how we manage food security in the future. We will need to be creative and pioneering in how we manage to propagate plants to prosper. ALEPH-1 is a project for everyone. We can all explore how to create a safe and supportive environment for plants to thrive.” – Caitlin Byrt, Science Advisor, Lunaria One.

Reach out to learn more or to find out how you can get involved: