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China is Growing Cotton on the Moon

China is Growing Cotton on the Moon

The Chang'e 4 lander is the first to visit the far side of Earth's natural satellite, sometimes called "the dark side of the moon".

Testing new technologies like 3D printing or the use of moon soil in construction for future missions could lay the groundwork for building on the moon's surface, he said.

Both the lander and the rover entered a "sleep mode" on Sunday as the first lunar night after the probe's landing fell, Wu said. That's because temperatures drop to -150 degress Celsius during lunar nights on the moon, and according to Xie Gengxin, chief designer of the experiment, life inside the canister would simply not survive those conditions.

Images sent back by the probe show a cotton sprout has grown well, but so far none of the other plants has taken, the university said. The ability to grow plants in space is seen as crucial for long-term space missions and establishing human outposts elsewhere in the solar system, such as Mars.

Professor Liu Hanlong, head of the experiment, announced cotton seeds were the first in the experiment to sprout, the South China Morning Post reported. They're now growing in a sealed container on the lander where they'll try to form a mini biosphere.

The far side has been observed many times from lunar orbits, but never explored on the surface.

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"We have given consideration to future survival in space".

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations shared its glee on Twitter, saying, "China's moon mission success means that astronauts could potentially harvest their own food in space!"

The Chang'e 4 mission is also set to discover if there is water at the Moon's poles.

The People's Daily, the official state media for China's ruling Communist Party, tweeted a picture of the experiment, and claimed it is "humankind's first biological experiment on the Moon".

As for how plant growth has become possible, the cotton seed is actually being grown in a special environment inside the Chang'e-4. Fruit flies, they added, "as consumers, and yeast, as decomposers, would generate carbon dioxide by consuming oxygen for photosynthesis of plants".

With the success of the cotton underway, China plans to continue its plans for further space exploration The goal of the next moon probe will be to bring samples of the moon back to Earth.