China becomes 1st nation to grow biological life on the Moon

China becomes 1st nation to grow biological life on the Moon

The ruling Communist Party's official mouthpiece the People's Daily tweeted an image of the sprouted seed, saying it marked "the completion of humankind's first biological experiment on the Moon". Inside you'll find soil, yeast, fruit fly and silkworm eggs, as well as cotton, potato, tomato, and (flowering) thale cress seeds.

A photograph taken on January 7 and released on Tuesday by China's National Space Administration showed the seeds sprouting on the far side of the moon.

The seeds only began growing once ground control singled to the probe to begin hydrating them and the cotton seed became the first-ever lunar sprout (plants have been grown on board the ISS, of course).

The Chang'e 4 is the first mission to land on and explore the Moon's far side, facing away from Earth.

According to a Xinhua report on Tuesday, researchers believe that the mini biosphere is an important first step in learning how to feed astronauts on future long-term mission missions to the moon, Mars and beyond.

The experiments designed by Chongqing University Crops have been successfully grown on the International Space Station, but they have never before been grown on the moon.

He said cotton could eventually be used for clothing while the potatoes could be a food source for astronauts and the rapeseed for oil.

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In an attempt to better understand how plants and animals could grow and live on the lunar surface, Chongqing University equipped the Chang'e 4 lander with a "mini-biosphere" experiment, which is created to be a self-sustaining ecosystem, according to Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua.

The seeds and eggs were kept dormant as the probe traveled through space. Meanwhile, the yeast helps to regulate the gases in the canister and acts as a decomposing agent, processing waste from the flies and any dead plants.

The six components behaved as "producers, consumers and decomposers" in the micro-ecosystem that arrived on the Moon.

China's space administration also released a 12-minute video of Chang'e 4's landing, using more than 4,700 images taken by an on-board camera.

China already has plans for four additional unmanned missions to the moon.

"In the past, we were always rushing to catch up to the advanced global standards" in space, said Wu Weiren, the chief designer of China's lunar exploration project.

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