Chinese scientists have planted a cotton seed on the moon, which has officially sprouted. This marks the first time humans have succeeded in growing biological matter on a planet other than earth. Before this, astronauts have successfully grown plants such as sunflower, lettuce on the International Space Station or ISS.
According to Prof. Xie Gengxin, dean of Advanced Technology, such giant steps open the door to future survival in space. He asserted that growing plants in a low gravity environment would allow in laying future foundation in space.
Chongqing University of China Calls Experiment “Lunar Mini Biosphere”
After the US and Russia, China is now the third country to mark its presence on the moon. The mission of successfully growing cotton on the moon put China in the space race. Along with the cotton, China has also sent potato seed, arabidopsis, fruity-fly eggs to the moon through the Chang’e 4. China’s vehicle Chang’e 4 is also the first one to land on the far-side of the moon. However, sending sprouts to the moon is a continuing experiment to test respiration and photosynthesis, states the BBC.
Biological technology helped in the dormancy of cotton seeds during the 20-day journey from earth to the moon’s far side. Once the probe started watering the seeds via a command from a ground control center, they began to grow. Only the cotton seeds have sprouted on the moon so far.
An 18 cm tall canister helps in growing plants inside of it, which provides air supply, nutrients, and water. According to Chinese scientists, the greatest challenge is the constant temperature fluctuations and weather changes on the moon.