China’s Moon mission sees first seeds sprout

Published : 9:10 am  January 16, 2019 | No comments so far |  | 

(0)

 reads | 

Untitled-3

 

Seeds taken up to the Moon by China’s Chang’e-4 mission have sprouted, the BBC reported yesterday quoting the China National Space Administration.   

 

It marks the first time any biological matter has grown on the Moon and is being seen as a significant step towards long-term space exploration.   
The Chang’e 4 is the first mission to land on and explore the Moon’s far side, facing away from Earth.   


It touched down on January 3, carrying instruments to analyse the region’s geology.   


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


The ability to grow plants on the Moon will be integral for long-term space missions, like a trip to Mars which would take about two-and-a-half years.   
It would mean that astronauts could potentially harvest their own food in space, reducing the need to come back down to Earth for re-supply.   


The Chinese moon lander was carrying among its cargo, soil containing cotton and potato seeds, yeast and fruit fly eggs.   

 

The Chinese moon lander was carrying among its cargo, soil containing cotton and potato seeds, yeast and fruit fly eggs


The plants are in a sealed container on board the lander. The crops will try to form a mini biosphere – an artificial, self-sustaining environment.   
On Tuesday, Chinese state media said the cotton seeds had now grown buds.   


The People’s Daily tweeted an image of the sprouted seed, saying it marked “the completion of humankind’s first biological experiment on the Moon”.   
Fred Watson, Australian Astronomical Observatory’s astronomer-at-large, told the BBC the development was “good news”.   


“It suggests that there might not be insurmountable problems for astronauts in future, trying to grow their own crops on the moon in a controlled environment.”   

(0)