Chinese Chang’e 4 lunar lander cotton seeds are growing
18 January, 2019, 09:30
Images sent back by the probe show a cotton plant has grown well, but so far none of the other plants had sprouted, the university said.
Chang'e 4touched down on the far side of the moon on 3 January with equipment, and a rover meant to explore the moon's surface and to conduct the biological growth experiments. Only on reaching the moon the command to water the seed was given. It is also designed such that temperatures between 1 and 30 degrees are maintained.
The organic biosphere experiment onboard consists of cotton shoots and some germinated plants in an airtight container.
The canister containing China'sChang'e lunar biosphere experiment on the Moon.
Some space and global affairs analysts estimated that China's forays into lunar exploration could inspire a new space race of sorts.
The overarching implications of this successful experiment are huge. If harvesting in space using locally available water becomes a reality, then astronauts can survive in space for longer duration without requiring supplies from Earth.
It should be also noted that the Chinese space agency had carried seeds of potatoes and oilseed rape seeds to the lunar surface, but none of these succeeded in sprouting under harsh conditions in moon.
Soviet spacecraft Luna-3 was the first ever to photograph the far side of the Moon in 1959.
Chinese scientists say they have grown the first plants on the moon as part of the country's lunar mission. It is for the first time, a mission is sent to the dark side of the moon by a country. Along with cotton seeds, the experiment included rapeseed, potato, and arabidopsis seeds, as well as fruit fly eggs and yeast to form a simple, tiny biosphere.
Global discussions about sending humans to the Moon and Mars have brought many challenges waiting to be solved, and among them is food supply.
China's Chang'e 4 moon rover, known as Yutu 2, photographed by the Chang'e 4 lander on the moon's far side.
Xie believes the breakthrough could help scientists to grow more vegetables on the Moon in future missions, eventually paving the way for a long-term base on the Moon to be established.
Gengxin added that these plants could be used to grow food and make cooking oil.
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