Scientists have discovered bacteria which they claim can grow in lunar soil, suggesting that it could be used on a future Moon base.
The cyanobacteria were discovered in hot springs in the Yellowstone National Park and have already grown in simulated lunar soil.
The Moon is rich in an iron-titanium mineral called ilmenite and the bacteria can feed on this and reproduce.
"This is unbelievable," Igor Brown, of Nasa's Johnson Space Center in Houston, told New Scientist magazine.
Brown explained that the bacteria will "not be able to support the growth of tomatoes", but could be used to generate fertilizer for other plants.
He envisages the bacteria being grown in large vats on the Moon's surface and used to grow plants that would provide food, but crucially also oxygen.
It is also hoped that as the bacteria feed on the iron in the soil the metal could be extracted from the bacteria and used to build the Moon base.
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