Friday, 19 April, 2019

Cotton Seed Sprouts In China's Lunar Lander

Images sent back by the Chang’e-4 probe showed that a cotton sprout had grown well but the other plants had not taken More Images sent back by the Chang’e-4 probe showed that a cotton sprout had grown well but the other plants had not taken More
Sandra Phillips | 17 January, 2019, 09:15

The seeds were rendered dormant using "biological technology" for the 20-day trip to the Moon.

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

The far side of the Moon, which humans know much less about than the side that faces the Earth, is often mistakenly called the "dark" side, though it is not actually deprived of light.

Camera IconIn this photo provided January 12, 2019, by the China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, the lunar lander of the Chang'e-4 probe is seen in a photo taken by the rover Yutu-2 on January 11, 2019.

Chinese scientists released this picture of a cotton plant growing in a canister on the Chang'4 lander. On 3 January, the probe took a variety of seeds in a bucket-like tin to the far side of the moon- including cotton, oilseed rape, potato, Arabidopsis and yeast - with hopes to cultivate biological matter.

There's cotton growing on the far side of the moon-the first time plants have sprouted there.

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China is relishing in the success of landing a lunar rover on the far side of the moon.

Chang'e-4 was launched in early December from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province.

As for how plant growth has become possible, the cotton seed is actually being grown in a special environment inside the Chang'e-4. The ability to grow plants in space is seen as crucial for long-term space missions and establishing human outposts elsewhere in the solar system, such as Mars. This is the first plant shoot that grows on the moon after experiencing severe environmental tests such as low gravity, strong radiation and high temperature.

Could more veggies come to the moon soon?

Professor Xie Gengxin, the experiment's chief designer, told the South China Morning Post researchers had given "consideration to future survival in space". Boffins have had to build a small self-sustaining biosphere inside a sealed canister within the Chang'e-4 Moon lander. Put simply, it means that humans in the future might be able to establish a sustainable ecosystem on the Moon without having to exclusively rely upon replenishing supplies from trips back and forth between the Moon and Earth.

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