CCHS students Plant the Moon


Ms. Rachana Bhonsle’s students participated in the Plant the Moon Challenge and joined a global science experiment and research challenge to examine how vegetable crops can grow in lunar soil. Each team received a real soil simulant from the University of Central Florida’s CLASS Exolith Lab. Students designed and conducted a set of experiments using this simulant to grow crops for a future, long-duration mission.

Teams used the Project Guide to help define their own experimental parameters, such as the structure of the plant growth setup, amount of water used, and nutrients or fertilizer added to the simulant to support plant growth. After an 8-weeks growing period, teams submitted their final project reports and joined the global network of researchers helping to expand the space exploration capabilities. Students are a part of NASA’s efforts to return humans to the Moon to stay by joining a teacher-led student global science experiment, learning activity and inspirational project-based learning challenge to see who can grow the best crops using lunar regolith simulant.

At the core of this challenge is the scientific method and design process. These steps can be summarized into the four parts of conducting a PTMC experiment: Research, Design, Plant & Monitor, and Analyze & Present. Within each phase, students encountered check point tasks that helped them through the process of completing their experiment. These were supplemented with live events from which they can gain additional support and networking opportunities. The project is sponsored by the NASA SC Space Grant Consortium.