Introducing the Best in Show Winners of the Spring 2023 Plant the Moon/Plant Mars Challenge!

Posted May 18, 2023 by Miranda Marshall

In a quest to understand plant growth in otherworldly environments, students from across the globe have competed in yet another outstanding season of the Plant the Moon/Plant Mars Challenge. We designed this challenge to help empower explorers of all ages to design and execute their own experiments using lunar or Martian simulant, discovering new ways to support deep space exploration along the way!

Did you know that Lion’s Mane mushrooms help radishes grow in Lunar regolith? Or that Prickly Pear Cactus might be a great opportunity to grow tasty supplements for Artemis astronaut meals? Now we do thanks to teams from Brown University in Rhode Island and the Wesleyan Academy in Guayanabo, Puerto Rico! These are just two of the sixteen teams selected for Best In Show awards this season.

As the PTMC continues to gain momentum with each passing season, Spring 2023 witnessed another exciting surge in participation with over 7,000 students involved. The level of competition continues to reach new heights, making the achievements of the winning teams all the more impressive. These young pioneers have showcased an unparalleled blend of creativity, scientific inquiry, and innovation through their groundbreaking research.

Let’s take a moment to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of these outstanding teams! If you want to secure your spot for the Fall 2023 season early (and get a 10% discount), registration is now open on the ICS platform!


Elementary Division


Growth Award Category

Lunar Landscapes

How does the Ratio of Lunar Regolith Simulant to Terrestrial Soil Affect the Growth and Development of Radishes?


How Do Soybeans Grow in Different Ratios of Lunar Regolith & Illinois Black Soil?


Innovation Award Category

Science Sisters

How Different Types of Soil with Moon Regolith Affect the Growth of Beans

GEHMS Botanists to the Moon

How much soil amendment needs to be added to lunar stimulant in order for plants (spinach) to grow and thrive?


Middle School Division


Evaluation of Results Award Category

Dux Carota Anti-Earth Gardening Association

Rabbit Manure: a viable candidate for soil enhancement and legume success in lunar regolith simulant


Experimental Design Award Category


How will Earthworms provide nutrients to the soil for faster growth? How will LED lights speed up the root growth?


Growth Award Category


Southern Charm Radishes in Fertilizer


Innovation Award Category

Who Let the Plants Out?

How a Self-Sustaining Environment with Different Amounts of Water Affects Marigolds and Green Beans Growth


High School Division


Evaluation of Results Award Category

Gernips- #1

German Turnip in Soil, Compost, and Regolith


Experimental Design Award Category

Team Aerospace #2; Planetary Oasis of Thompson’s Agricultural Triumphs Organization (P.O.T.A.T.O.) – Pots and Pillows: Growing Potatoes In Lunar Regolith Soil


Growth Award Category

MML Team – The fertility of Regolith with compost in the Germination and growth of Lactuca sativa


Innovation Award Category

Eagles Fly High – The Optimizing Effect of Fungi Lion’s Mane (Hericium rinaceus) for Growing Radish in Regolith


Undergrad/Professional Division


Evaluation of Results Award Category

Brown Space Engineering – Team 2

Is Opuntia cactus propagation in lunar highland simulant affected by different soil and nutrient conditions?


Experimental Design Award Category

Minnesota West Bluejays

Effect of the compound used as a nitrogen source on Cherry Belle radish (Raphanus sativus) plant growth


Growth Award Category

The Williams Family

Bush Beans Grow, Flower, and Begin Fruit Production in Washed LHS-1 Supplemented With Less Than 10% Organic Matter


Innovation Award Category

M.A.R.S on Mars

Mammal Scat vs. Worm Casting Viability in Simulated Mars-regolith Soil in a Controlled Greenhouse Environment


A huge round of applause to all the winning teams for everything they have accomplished this season! These teams’ contributions to aerospace and agricultural science are paving the way for a future of sustainable farming beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Watch the Closing Symposium recording to see the Best in Show receive their hard-earned recognition.