China’s Cotton Seeds on Moon Mission Have Sprouted

China’s Cotton Seeds on Moon Mission Have Sprouted


Humans have been successfully grown plants like sunflowers, zinnias, leafy vegetables, etc. in the space till now on the International Space Station. But, it was never done on the moon before this. China did the first experiment in which they tried to grow plants on Moon.

China’s spacecraft Chang’e-4 carried cotton seeds on Moon and they have sprouted. This was the first biological experiment on the Moon. After two weeks of Lander, this news came out. The rover had touched the far side of Moon and started conducting the decided experiments which included testing the plants’ sustainability, studying the history and composition of the celestial body and also looking for the clues of origin of the universe.

For this experiment, a 7-inch-tall bucket-like tin along with air, soil and water which had potato, Arabidopsis (a mustard family plant), cotton seeds and yeast, fruit fly eggs, etc. were planned to be carried on the spacecraft, by the China-based Chongqing University. First, they had thought of sending silkworm cocoons when they revealed the project in April to the public, but later they changed their plan.

As said by the scientists of Chongqing University, there will be a tube inside the tin, which will direct natural light to the plants for photosynthesis. The plants will emit oxygen and create an ecosystem on the Moon. This team of scientists may even live broadcast this progress of the plants. NASA, in 2013 had announced to conduct same experiments by using basil seeds, Arabidopsis, turnips, etc. to grow plants on Moon. However, for some reason, this experiment was canceled by NASA.

This is the first time when humans grew something on Moon where there were different challenges like low gravity, huge temperature differences, high radiation, etc. The team said that they will keep growing the plants there and wait for the first leaf. The seeds are not exposed to the lunar atmosphere, but required climatic conditions are being created inside the spacecraft. This is one of the big steps in space exploration, taken by China.

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