Science

China confirms seeds sprouting on dark side of moon

China confirms seeds sprouting on dark side of moon”

The agency said four more lunar missions are planned, confirming the launch of Chang'e 5 by the end of the year, which will be the first probe to return samples of the moon to Earth since the 1970s.

Professor Xie Gengxin, the Chinese scientist in charge of the lunar plant experiment, said if successful, the project would signal that China was catching up in space exploration. Cotton seeds have reportedly just sprouted in an experiment aboard China's Chang'e 4 moon lander.

According to TimeandDate.com, the first full moon of the year is known as the "Wolf Moon" and is named after howling wolves. It contains soil and cotton, rape, arabidopsis and potato seeds. Now, photos taken by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) show small leafy stalks sprouting from the moon's surface.

After Chang'e-4 landed on the far side of the moon on January 3, the ground control center instructed the probe to water the plants to start the growing process.

Cotton seeds carried by China's Chang'e-4 moon probe have become the first biological matter to grow on the moon. These tiny seeds are enclosed in a sealed container on the Chang'e 4 lander, and these crops could eventually form a self-sustaining biosphere on the moon.

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.

"We have given consideration to future survival in space". With the ability to grow edible plants, astronauts could grow and harvest their own food, enabling long-term habitation.

Images released by the CNSA now appear to show cotton seeds sprouting, in what the ruling Communist Party's official mouthpiece, The People's Daily, labelled a "first in human history". Fruit flies, they added, "as consumers, and yeast, as decomposers, would generate carbon dioxide by consuming oxygen for photosynthesis of plants". Chang'e 4 is located in the Von Karman crater in the moon's southern hemisphere. The mission's architects say the experiments could help lay a foundation for one day establishing a lunar base.

A lunar eclipse happens when the Moon passes behind the Earth and into the Earth's shadow.



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