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HomeUncategorizedDYK? China successfully grew plants on the moon, it sprouted two leaves

DYK? China successfully grew plants on the moon, it sprouted two leaves

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  • Seeds carried by China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander have sprouted, marking the first instance of biological matter growing on the moon
  • The Chang’e 4 lunar probe hit headlines before after it was reported that it had successfully landed on the far side of the moon in a world first

China made history by landing its Change-4 spacecraft on the moon’s far side. The mission was also the first to experiment with growing plants on the moon, and it transported a mini-biosphere dubbed the Lunar Micro Ecosystem to the lunar surface (LME).

A cotton seed brought to the moon aboard China’s Chang’e 4 mission can be seen sprouting in a biological experiment on the far side of the moon. Photo: Chongqing University / AFP – Getty Images

According to the South China Morning Post, the China National Space Administration has now released a photograph of cotton seeds sprouting in a sealed container.

The People’s Daily newspaper, a mouthpiece for China’s ruling Communist Party, shared the image on Twitter.

According to a tweet from the newspaper, the development marks “the completion of humankind’s first biological experiment on the moon.”

As per the Post, Professor Liu Hanlong of Chongqing University, who led the research, rapeseed and potato seeds germinated as well, but cotton seeds were the first to sprout.

Plants such as zinnias and leaf vegetables have been grown in space aboard the International Space Station, but none have ever been grown on the moon.

The breakthrough could pave the way for more biological life to be grown on the moon within a contained environment. Liu said that the potatoes could be used as the main source of food for space explorers, while the cotton could be used to make clothing and the rapeseed could be used to produce oil.

With the exception of microgravity and cosmic radiation, the conditions inside this compact, cylindrical biosphere were similar to those on Earth. Potato seeds, cotton seeds, rapeseeds, yeast, and Arabidopsis thaliana, a common weed, were all included in the LME.

Apart from cotton, they all died in 2019 or shortly after. According to a new 3D reconstruction, the cotton plant sprouted two leaves before succumbing to the frigid conditions after about two weeks. The results show that the experiment was slightly more effective than previously thought.

If NASA or other space organizations want to conduct long-term missions, they must learn how to cultivate plants in space on a consistent basis.

“Simply packing some multi-vitamins will not be enough to keep astronauts healthy as they explore deep space,” NASA wrote. “They will need fresh produce.”

Why?

Some considerations are logistical in nature. Nutrients in supplements and prepared meals, for instance, can degrade over time, and radiation can accelerate this process. As a result, growing fresh vegetables would provide astronauts with more nutrients and more flavorful meals.

Furthermore, if astronauts could grow plants in space, they would not need to bring as much prepared food with them. Growing plants in space, on the other hand, has psychological benefits.

“We already know from our pioneering astronauts that fresh flowers and gardens on the International Space Station create a beautiful atmosphere and let us take a little piece of Earth with us on our journeys,” NASA wrote. “They’re good for our psycho

The news, per the Sky News, also highlights China’s space exploration ambitions. The country is hoping to send a spacecraft to Mars next year and to eventually send manned missions to the red planet.

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