Iowa Plant the Moon Challenge


Iowa Plant the Moon Challenge

Participants in the Iowa Plant the Moon Challenge will join a global science experiment and research challenge to examine how vegetable crops can grow in lunar soil. Iowa 4-H will support youth teams through funding from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium and the ISU Integrated Pest Management Program.

Each team will receive real lunar soil simulant and other materials to conduct plant growth experiments. Teams can also partner with an Iowa State University graduate student to design and execute their experiments. The ISU graduate students come from various plant science fields and will communicate virtually with the teams they mentor to provide guidance throughout the program. Teams will prepare and submit a report for NASA scientists by the end of April and attend a closing symposium and awards ceremony held in May. 

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, we are able to provide free challenge registration (cost of $405) for up to 20 Iowa youth teams. Teams should be between 3 and 10 members, and an adult leader needs to register the team and coordinate activities. Teams will need a space and materials for growing plants indoors, and funding is available for some plant growth supplies.

All teams that register to be part of the Iowa State University led program are expected to complete all assignments as outlined in the schedule below.

Plant the Moon Challenge Schedule

*Please note all sessions are virtual and do not require in-person attendance.

Tuesday, December 12 Iowa Teams Informational Meeting
Monday, January 22 Opening Symposium
Sunday, January 28 Team Demographic Data Survey One
Sunday, February 4 Initial Experimental Designs Due
Monday, February 5 Grow Period Begins
Sunday, February 18 Intro Videos Due
Wednesday, February 21 Informal Office Hours
Sunday, March 4 Midpoint Grow Updates Due
Wednesday, March 13 Q&A with Science Advisory Board
Sunday, March 31 Grow Period Ends
Sunday, April 14 Final Reports Due
Sunday, April 21 Project Videos and Surveys Due
Wednesday, May 8 Closing Awards Ceremony

All spaces for the 2024 Iowa Plant the Moon Challenge have been filled. Please check again in October to register for the 2025 challenge.

In collaboration with the Iowa Space Grant Consortium and ISU Integrated Pest Management Program. 

Thank you to our sponsors!

Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management Program, Iowa Space Grant Consortium, Iowa 4-H Youth Development, SummitAgro, Iowa BASF Technology Services, Agronomic Services, Biololgy, Seed Treatment Solutions, and Seed and Crop Protection Sales Teams, Pattern Ag, and Bayer Crop Science.

For more information about Plant the Moon, visit