China's Lunar Lander Chang'e 4 Grows First Plant on Moon (See Pictures)
16 January, 2019, 22:43 | Author: Chad Warren
Cotton sprouts seen close-up under a protective cover on board the Moon lander.
Cotton seeds carried to the moon by a Chinese probe have sprouted, marking what could be the first plant to ever grow there, according to Chinese government images.
After becoming the first country in the world to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, China is planning four more missions to get samples back before studying the feasibility of a lunar research base.
The mission is part of China's ambitious push to explore the Moon's resources and its potential as a space base.
China's The Long March 3B rocket, transporting the Chang'e-4 lunar rover in December.
"We have given consideration to future survival in space", Prof.
Images sent back by the probe show a cotton sprout has grown well, but so far none of the other plants has taken, the university said.
The lunar mini biosphere experiment on the lander is created to test photosynthesis and respiration - processes in living organisms that result in the production of energy. This mission has launched China into space race.
The plans have been announced just weeks after the country successfully completed the first touchdown on the far side of the moon. The space agency is developing preliminary plans for a crewed lunar landing mission in the 2030s, with the possibility of building a moon base with worldwide cooperation afterward. Once on the Moon's far side, ground control commanded the lander to water the seeds.
Chinese scientists said they used these plants and silkworms because the plants will provide the silkworms with oxygen, while the silkworms will give them carbon dioxide and nutrients through their waste, The Telegraph has learned. It contains soil and cotton, rape, arabidopsis and potato seeds.
With the ability to grow edible plants, astronauts could grow and harvest their own food, enabling long-term habitation.
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