Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Plant shoots grow on far side of Moon

The First Seeds on the Moon Are Sprouting Plants sprout on moon for 1st time as part of Chinese space mission
Sandra Phillips | 17 January, 2019, 19:58

A cotton seed carried to the Moon by China's recent Chang'e-4 probe has sprouted, the first for any biological matter to grow on the Moon, the media reported on Tuesday.

Cotton, rapeseed, and potato seedlings have all sprouted inside a canister aboard China's Chang'e-4 lunar lander, now parked on the far side of the moon. They also added yeast, fruit fly eggs and the seeds of cotton, rapeseed, potato and rock cress-a flowering plant in the mustard family.

Xie said the experiment would allow scientists to learn how plants can grow in the "low gravity, strong radiation and natural lighting conditions of the Moon", according to the university.

Charles Cockell, a professor of astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, told Newsweek that the latest achievement is "very significant" because it shows a proof of concept for growing plants on the moon.

Will China be the first country to send humans to Mars?

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In a post from the South China Morning Post, we learn that the cotton seeds were transported in an airtight container comprised of soil, air, water, and more. "A lunar eclipse can only happen during a full moon when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun", Walter Freeman, an assistant teaching professor in the Physics Department at Syracuse University, said in an emailed statement to Fox News.

Dr Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the National Space Administration and deputy commander of lunar exploration projects, said in a press conference: "Chang'e-5 will return mission sampling from the surface of the moon around the end of this year". It also had some unusual guests on board and - in a first for the moon - one of them sprouted.

Self-sustaining habitable environments for off-planet travel have been part of scientific research for decades, including a famous large-scale experiment conducted nearly 30 years ago called Biosphere 2 (Earth is Biosphere 1). The plants produced oxygen and food by photosynthesis and helped sustain the fruit flies.

On Jan. 3, the Chang'e-4's lander became the first human-built spacecraft to touch down on the moon's so-called "dark side".

Xinhua said the probe had taken about 170 pictures so far which have been sent back to Earth. The spacecraft carried with it a number of instruments created to study the lunar surface and geology of the Von Kármán crater where the craft made its soft landing.

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