Published: Wed, January 16, 2019
Research | By Wilma Wheeler

China might just have grown the first plant ever on the moon

China might just have grown the first plant ever on the moon

Cotton seeds were the first to sprout after which rapeseed and potato seeds emerged.

China's National Space Administration applauded the event as a first that "lifted the mysterious veil" of the far side of the moon and claimed it as a major achievement for the country's ambitious space programme.

In 2015, Expedition 44 astronauts grew - and then consumed - romaine lettuce on the International Space Station.

The Chang'e 4 is also the first vehicle to land on the far-side of the moon.

"We have given consideration to future survival in space". - China will seek to establish an worldwide lunar base one day, possibly using 3D printing technology to build facilities, the Chinese space agency said on January 14, weeks after landing the rover on the moon's far side. Yeast could play a role in regulating carbon dioxide and oxygen in the mini biosphere, and the fruit fly would be a consumer of the photosynthesis process.


The space agency is already looking ahead to its next lunar mission, Chang'e 5, which is created to collect lunar samples and bring them back to Earth. The CNSA, the Ministry of Education, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the China Association for Science and Technology and other organizations launched a contest among students across China in 2015, collecting ideas on the design of the payloads. The seeds are for rapeseed, potato, Arabidopsis and cotton.

With the ability to grow edible plants, astronauts could grow and harvest their own food, enabling long-term habitation.

First published January 15, 8:19 a.m. PT. Update at 2:28 p.m. PT: Adds that the plant died. Wu said Monday that NASA shared information about its lunar orbiter satellite in hopes of monitoring the landing of the Chang'e 4 spacecraft, which made China the first country to set down on the far side of the moon earlier this month.

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.

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