A Small Cotton Shoot Is Growing On The Moon

A Small Cotton Shoot Is Growing On The Moon

In one giant leap for plant-kind, cotton seeds have sprouted on the far side of the moon overseas China's Chang'e-4 probe.

This handout photograph taken on January 12, 2019 and received from Chongqing University on January 15 shows a cotton sprout (left) growing in an experiment inside the Chang'e-4 moon probe on the far side of the moon.

Although only the picture of the cotton sprouts was released by the space agency, Professor Hanlong said that rapeseed and potato seeds were sprouting.

The Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper, The People's Daily hailed the achievement as "humankind's first biological experiment on the moon". "The drosophila melanogaster, as consumers, and yeast, as decomposers, would generate carbon dioxide by consuming oxygen for photosynthesis of plants".

A combination of "the biological experiment on the moon's surface, the first plant buds to be cultivated on the moon, and, over time, the first green leaf grown on the moon, provides foundations for research and experience for human beings to establish a lunar base in the future".

Scientists filled a sealed canister-which is made from special aluminum alloys and kept heated to a temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius-with water, soil and air.

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Image: The moon lander Chang'e 4. The ability to grow food and other resources in space could help to decrease the amount of cargo astronauts need to bring with them.

Once the probe landed, the Chinese space agency sent it a signal to begin watering the seeds.

The experiments designed by Chongqing University Crops have been successfully grown on the International Space Station, but they have never before been grown on the moon.

There are also plans for the missions to explore the possibility of building a lunar research base possibly using 3D printing.

On Friday, the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) released several images taken by the probe including panoramic images of the landing site as well as video of the vehicles touching down.

"China, the U.S., Russian Federation and countries from Europe are all studying whether to set up a research base or station on the moon, like if we can build houses with lunar soil via 3-D printing technology", China's CGTN network quoted Wu as saying.

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