Ibadan, 23 November 2023. – Interstellar Lab has announced its collaboration with Astrolab on a lunar mission named LITTLE PRINCE to grow flowers on the Moon in transparent controlled-environment plant pods and capture data and pictures of this first step towards making any life multi-planetary. The company partnered with Astrolab to install the payloads on the lunar surface with the FLEX (Flexible Logistics and Exploration) rover. As a result, the LITTLE PRINCE Mission will be part of Astrolab’s Mission 1.
The primary scientific objective of the mission LITTLE PRINCE is to measure the impact of the lunar environment on plants’ phenotype and molecular composition. Interstellar Lab consequently envisions this mission as a significant step toward unlocking space access for terrestrial customers and ultimately establishing a garden on the Moon.
SpaceX will transport Astrolab’s FLEX rover to the lunar surface as part of Astrolab’s Mission 1, and SpaceX will use the Starship launch and landing system for this mission. Following landing on the Moon, FLEX will deploy payloads for Interstellar Lab and other Astrolab customers, as soon as mid-2026.
The plant growth system payload, a smaller version of Quark from NUCLEUS, Interstellar Lab’s food system winner of NASA’s Deep Space Food Challenge phase 1 and 2, will be a key component of the mission. FLEX, equipped with an advanced robotic arm, will install the plant pods on the lunar surface, marking a historic moment in lunar exploration and scientific research. Furthermore, Interstellar Lab looks forward to the success of the mission LITTLE PRINCE and anticipates further initiatives to extend life beyond Earth.