Published: Wed, January 16, 2019
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Cottoning on: Chinese seed sprouts on moon

Cottoning on: Chinese seed sprouts on moon

And now, the team announced, a cotton seed has sprouted.

They will need the ability to grow their own food, and this Moon experiment suggests they'll be able to with the right equipment.

While human beings have grown plants in space before, they've never attempted to grown one on the moon. But the closest that terrestrial vegetation has come to the moon before now was in 1971, when Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa carried hundreds of tree seeds to orbit the moon with him.

Earlier today China has released incredible footage of its historic touchdown on the icy far side of the moon.

On January 3, China's Chang'e 4 lander made history by completing the first successful landing on the far side of the moon.

Cotton seeds ferried to the far the side of the moon in a "mini biosphere" aboard China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft have sprouted, according to a report from the state-run Xinhua News Agency. "Learning about these plants' growth in a low gravity environment would allow us to lay foundation for our future establishment of (a) space base".

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The biosphere was also equipped with water, soil, air, two small cameras and a heat control system, said Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University, the experiment's lead designer.

Professor Liu Hanlong was in charge of the mission and issued the following statement on the accomplishment: "We have given consideration to future survival in space".

"Experts are still discussing and verifying the feasibility of subsequent projects, but it's confirmed that there will be another three missions after Chang'e 5", said Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), at a press conference.

The plans underscore China's ambitions in space at a time when the U.S. is curtailing NASA's budget and increasingly handing over space exploration to commercial adventurers, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

Chinese scientists are also attempting to grow seeds from rapeseed, potato and mouse-ear cress, and are trying to hatch fruit fly eggs. For example, potatoes serve as a good source and can make rapeseed oil which is similar to canola oil.

It also plans to send an unmanned mission to Mars in 2020. Chang'e 4 is located in the Von Karman crater in the moon's southern hemisphere.

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