Business Standard

First ever plant on moon: Cotton seed sent with China's lunar probe sprouts

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

IANS  |  Beijing 

Chang'e 4 lunar probe, China spacecraft
The Chang’e 4 lunar probe being launched from Xichang in December. Photo: Reuters

A carried to the by China's recent Chang'e-4 probe has sprouted, the first for any biological matter to grow on the Moon, the media reported on Tuesday.

Images sent back by the probe showed that a cotton sprout had grown well, though no other plant was found growing, the Xinhua news agency reported.

On January 3, China's robotic Chang'e-4 landed on the far side of the moon, a first in the human history of space exploration.

The 1.3-tonne lander, which made a soft landing on the Moon, carried the seeds of cotton, rape, potato and arabidopsis, as well as eggs of the fruit fly and some yeast, to form a simple mini biosphere, according to a team led by scientists from Chongqing University in southwest

Plants have been grown on the before but never on the

The ability to grow plants on the 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 to re-supply, the BBC reported.

The plants are kept in a sealed container on board the Chang'e-4 lander. The crops will try to form a mini biosphere -- an artificial, self-sustaining environment.

The lunar mini biosphere experiment on the lander is designed to test photosynthesis and respiration -- processes in living organisms that result in the production of energy.

The whole experiment is contained within an 18 cm tall, 3 kg canister that was designed by 28 Chinese universities, the BBC said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 15 2019. 19:46 IST