After Chang’e 4, the Chinese probe landed on the far side of the Moon on 3 January, setting a first in space exploration, China also becomes the first nation to grow a plant on the Moon!
The probe carried cotton seeds on board and photos sent from inside the craft show that the seeds have sprouted inside the small pot!
Chang’e 4 also carried a rover named Yutu 2 (or Jade Rabbit 2) that is now conducting experiments and will be exploring for water at the poles.
The mission also included a test to see if plants would be able to grow in a low-gravity environment. Now that the test showed successful growth, scientists know that it is possible to grow plants on the moon! So far, scientists have grown plants in space, but never on the moon.
The Experiments on the Moon Will Carry On. Mars Mission Scheduled For 2020
According to the dean of Institute of Advanced Technology at Chongqing University, Xie Gengxin, who is also the chief designer of the experiment, the mission is a first in human history:
“This has achieved the first biological experiment on the moon of human history, to sprout the first bud on the desolate moon. And with time moving on, it’ll be the first plant with green leaves on the moon.”
The next experiments are to grow other plants from rapeseed, potato, mouse-ear cress, and are also going to try to hatch fruit fly eggs. This experiment will show how life develops in low gravity and environments that have strong radiation also helping to grow resources for future moon colonies built by humans.
But China is not stopping here. By the end of this year, the Chinese space agency will send the Chang’e 5 lunar mission and bring back moon samples to Earth.
As for the first mission to Mars, China National Space Administration’s deputy head Wu Yanhua stated on Monday in a news conference that they have scheduled it for 2020.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere