China grows the first seed on the Moon

China grows the first seed on the Moon

China grows the first seed on the Moon

Inside you'll find soil, yeast, fruit fly and silkworm eggs, as well as cotton, potato, tomato, and (flowering) thale cress seeds.

China has released unbelievable footage of the descent of the Chang'e-4 spacecraft which shows the historic moment of the first landing on the far side of the Moon.

This of course marks the first time that a plant has ever grown on the Moon, with the seeds naturally sprouting in a specially designed and concealed container.

The Chang'e-4 probe - named after a Chinese moon goddess - made the world's first soft landing on the moon's "dark side" on January 3, a major step in China's ambitions to become a space superpower.

In the biosphere, the plants are shielded from harmful radiation, and the temperature is maintained artificially, since the moon lacks a sufficient atmosphere to block radiation from space or to regulate heat.

The agency said four more lunar missions are planned, confirming the launch of Chang'e 5 by the end of the year, which will be the first probe to return samples of the moon to Earth since the 1970s.

It would mean that astronauts could potentially harvest their own food in space, reducing the need to come back down to Earth to resupply.

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On Tuesday, Chinese state media said the cotton seeds had now grown buds. "Learning about these plants' growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base", said Professor Liu Hanlong, who is heading the experiment.

Fred Watson, Australian Astronomical Observatory's astronomer-at-large was also encouraged by the progress.

The landing is a milestone for China's fledgling space program, marking the first time that China has completed a significant space mission that was not already performed previously by the USA or Russian Federation.

Cotton seedlings are growing in a habitat on the moon. Cotton could be used for clothing, rapeseed for oil, and the potatoes a source of food. Then, when the lander reached the moon's surface, ground control instructed the mini-biosphere to water the plants and expose them to natural light.

Image: China's lunar rover Jade Rabbit 2.

Xinhua said the probe had taken about 170 pictures so far which have been sent back to Earth.

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