China successfully grows first plant on the moon

Cotton Seed Germinates on China's Moon Probe Becomes First Off World Plant

Credit Ponciano pixabay

CNSA said the biological plants sent on the lunar mission had to pass strict requirements because of the extremely small size allowed in the cargo.

China was the first nation to put a spacecraft on the far side of the moon earlier this month.

The "dark" side of the Moon may soon have a variety of vegetation growing there as China has begun its 100-day experiment to grow plants on the lunar surface.

"This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface", said Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment.

The cylindrical canister, in which the seeds were kept, also had fruit fly eggs and yeast to create a simple bio sphere inside. Of these, only the cotton seeds have germinated, for reasons that have yet to be determined.

First, it's a wolf moon, a traditional name for full moons in winter.

Wu Weiren, general designer of China's lunar exploration program, said that three major aspects will be carried out by Chang'e 4 as the mission transfers from the commissioning phase to the scientific exploration phase. Of these, only one of the cotton seeds sprouted after the lander was instructed from ground control to start watering the seeds and channeling natural light from the Moon's surface to them.

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In a first ever experiment, a cotton seed has grown on the moon, Chinese media reported on Tuesday. On Monday, China's space agency announced the Chang'e 5 lunar mission would launch by the end of the year with a goal to bring moon samples back to Earth. The experiment is contained within an 18 cm, 3 kg (7 lbs.) canister designed by 28 universities in China.

They said these plants would oxygen and food for other living things and astronauts to "consume". For example, the potatoes grown on the Moon could serve as the main source of food for astronauts, while the rapeseed could be used to produce oil.

To the Australian Astronomical Association astronomer-at-large, Fred Watson, the development was "good news", reports the BBC. It could mean humans elsewhere in the solar system would be able to grow food to consume in space, which can reduce the need and costs of getting supplies from Earth.

China's ambitions for space and lunar exploration aren't limited to the current mission.

More than 170 pictures have been taken by the cameras and sent back to Earth, according to the team.

The country's first mission to Mars is scheduled for around 2020, Wu Yanhua, deputy head of China National Space Administration, said at a news conference in Beijing Monday.

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