DADE CITY — The Hugh Embry Library’s effort to grow plants in simulated lunar soil took home a big prize in the Plant the Moon Challenge, according to a press release from Pasco County.
The branch’s Project Moonraker took home “Best in Show: Evaluation of Results.”
“Our team is blown away and very thankful for such a wonderful opportunity to bring science to our little Dade City community, as well as the positive press to Pasco County Library System,” the release said. “We would like to thank the Institute of Competition Sciences, NASA and Exolith Labs for providing the grant that made this project possible, and we look forward to working with them again. We would also like to thank everyone who supported us, not only our peers, but our patrons as well. This is a win for you as well, especially everyone who helped provide such astute observations in our participatory observation book!”
There were six people involved with Project Moonraker: Laura Covillon, Sarah Pass, Lori Johnson, Shaina Smith, Donovan Rummel and Danielle Lee. Covillon discovered the program, provided beautifully painted planets to decorate the library’s space display and was part of the Plant Care Team.
Pass acquired the grant and was part of the Plant Care Team.
Johnson was the plants and soils expert, providing the nutrients and greenhouse setup.
“Smith and library supporter and volunteer Rummel were the ‘resident scientists’ who ensured rigorous adherence to the scientific method and wrote the final report that won us the recognition of ‘Best in Show: Evaluation of Results,’” the release said.
Lee, the New River branch manager, brought it all together, said the release.
The experiment was designed around hydroponics, a process of growing plants without soil. The staff grew nutritious kale in a mix of lunar soil simulant, Earth soil and hydrogel. They were trying to determine the least amount of materials needed to be transported from Earth to the moon in order to produce the best yield and provide fresh food to astronauts when they are in space.
Plant the Moon by the ICS, in conjunction with NASA and Exolith Labs, allows everyday people to help NASA find answers to some very important questions.
For more information, visit https://www.competitionsciences.org/.../plant-the-moon.../