Geeking Science: Gardening the Black

Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin on Unsplash

Going into the dark, the vastness of space, is a challenge. Earth is our womb, our soil and roots, our air, our home, our food, the water of our blood. When we leave home, we will need to take our basic needs with us – air, water, the ability to grow food, the tools to make shelter – or figure out a way to do so out there in the dark.

Scientists are working on that as we speak. And one of the biggest helpers we might take with us is the all-time best grow-in-the-shadows food: mushrooms. To build soil and build houses.

Our food system depends on our top soil, and we will need a lot of it in space. One of the major producers of soil is fungus. Scientists are thinking they can jump start soil production with some carefully chosen and trained mushrooms.

And also build houses. I know, right? Fungus houses!

This fascinating subject is laid out in “Fungi Could Make Soil from Asteroids and Homes on Mars” by Madeleine Gregory. (April 8, 2022, on – – last viewed 10/14/2022)

Another part of the investigation is actually attempting to grow plants in lunar soil brought back by the Apollo missions. The too long-didn’t watch the whole 5 minutes of the video breakdown is (1) they did add nutrient rich water to grow the plants in the soil (what the other scientists mentioned above are trying to by-pass with the fungi because carting nutrients and water into space is EXPENSIVE) and (2) the plants still didn’t grow as well on the space soil as they did in similar soil found on Earth – and the scientists are excited about this because it means there is a difference between their simulation and the actual soil, now they just need to figure out what that is. As I mentioned before in Geeking Science posts, scientists love it when they have more questions than answers. (University of Florida scientists grow plants in soil from the moon – May 13, 2022 – youtube)