Moon sprouts: one small step for cotton, one giant step for China

Theresa Obrien
January 19, 2019

After making the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon, China's Chang'e-4 mission pioneered the first mini biosphere experiment on the moon.

Xie Gengxin, dean of Institute of Advanced Technology at Chongqing University and the chief designer of the experiment, said it was a world first.

Plants have been grown on the International Space Station before but never on the Moon.

The successful launch of Chang E-4 is considered to be a long jump in China towards astronomical observation and has given considerable strength to its ambitions towards becoming a space superpower.

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.

In a development that will likely have huge implications for the future of space travel, China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander successfully managed to plant and sprout cotton seeds on the Moon. With the ability to grow edible plants, astronauts could grow and harvest their own food, enabling long-term habitation. Some have raised the question of whether the experiment risks "contaminating" the Moon, but scientists generally think this is of little concern. The Chang'e-4 lunar probe is now in the Von Carmer crater in the moon's southern hemisphere, and in the night time, the probe will be sent to sleep.

Chang'e 5 will lay the groundwork for further probes to be sent to the moon's south pole and possibly to return samples from the far side of the moon, Wu said.

Mariah Carey sues former PA for secretly filming 'intimate' videos of her
Mariah claims the blackmail began back in November 2017, after she fired her from her role and says Lianna won't return the video. Given that the evidence against this former assistant is vast and deplorable, we anticipate a victorious resolution.

Sharapova routs qualifier at Australian Open
If I want to go again, I'll need to have a big operation which there's no guarantees I'll come back from. I don't understand how in the last eight to ten years that participation is dropping - I don't get it.

South Korea seizes North Korean paintings due to sanctions
North Korea has called the label a provocation that demonstrated Seoul's hostility. South Korea publishes a defense white paper every other year.

Late on January 3, China's newest lunar rover - nicknamed the Jade Rabbit - rolled off its lunar lander and onto the far side of the moon. All countries are welcome to participate in China's follow-up lunar exploration and deep space exploration projects, he said.

However, plants have successfully been grown on the worldwide Space Station (ISS).

Scientists are trying to create a mini-ecosystem using potato seeds and silkworm eggs also inside the canister.

Inside are cotton, arabidopsis - a small, flowering plant of the mustard family - and potato seeds, as well as fruit-fly eggs and yeast.

Xinhua also posted a video showing a simulated seedling growth test on Earth, leading to some questions about the earlier images and whether they came from the moon experiment or its Earth counterpart.

"We had no such experience (growing plants on the moon) before".

Other reports by

Discuss This Article