NASA beaten by China to grow first plants on the Moon

Jan 16, 2019, 04:41
NASA beaten by China to grow first plants on the Moon

Sprouts from cotton seeds have emerged from a lattice-like structure in a metal canister inside the lander, China said.

That makes it the first truly otherworldly plant in history.

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The 1.3-tonne lander, which made a soft landing on the Moon, put potato seeds and silkworm eggs housed in a chamber, and fed natural light and nutrition, on the Moon.

Seeds taken to the far side of the moon as part of China's lunar exploration mission have sprouted in a first for growing biological matter on the satellite. And even the cotton plant is looking pretty peaky compared to seedlings in a control setup the scientists established on Earth.

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China exchanged data with NASA on its recent mission to land a Chinese spacecraft on the far side of the moon, the Chinese space agency said Monday, in what was reportedly the first such collaboration since an American law banned joint space projects with China that do not have prior congressional approval.

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.

"Learning about these plants' growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of [a] space base". Inside you'll find soil, yeast, fruit fly and silkworm eggs, as well as cotton, potato, tomato, and (flowering) thale cress seeds.

"For future human space exploration, we want to be able to build life support systems that include life to recycle gases and nutrients".

A small green shoot is growing on the moon in an out-of-this-world first after a cotton seed germinated on board a Chinese lunar lander, scientists said today.

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As the BBC reports, one of the experiments China sent to the moon is a biosphere, which consists of a sealed 18-by-16cm container offering an Earth-like environment.

Image: The moon lander Chang'e 4.

Pictures released by the China National Space Administration released pictures showing a rocky surface with the jagged edge of craters in the background, posing a challenge for controllers in plotting the rover's travels, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Space fans who have been following the Chinese Chang'e 4 mission might have thought they knew everything about the mission at this point.

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