Yet another leap of science towards sustaining life on the moon! China has made history by successfully sprouting a biological substance on the dusty grey surface of the moon. It has sprouted a cotton seed on it.
China’s Chang’e-4 lunar lander was in headline after it became the first in the world to land on the far side of the moon. Named after the Chinese Moon goddess,Chang’e-4 touched the surface of the moon on January 2, 2019. Now it has created another record by growing cotton shoot in an air-tight container. China is moving in leaps and bounds to achieve bigger heights in biosphere experiments.
The sealed canister which houses the cotton seed contains air, soil, and water. It also holds seeds of other plants like potato, rapeseed, and Arabidopsis flowers that can be grown in the low gravity of the moon. It has samples of yeast and fruit fly eggs as well.
First in human history: A cotton seed brought to the moon by China's Chang'e 4 probe has sprouted, the latest test photo has shown, marking the completion of humankind's first biological experiment on the moon pic.twitter.com/CSSbgEoZmC
— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) January 15, 2019
The seeds were dormant during Chang’e-4’s journey to the Moon. On the day after touchdown, January 3, ground control gave the thumbs up to begin watering the plants. The biosphere has a heat-control system and two cameras to monitor insides of the biosphere. Up until now, the cameras just show the germination of the cotton seed, however, the group is expecting that the others will spring to life as well.
This biosphere experiment is far-sighted and well planned. Each component of the experiment was picked with a purpose. The blooming plants were taken because they will be easily noticeable on the cameras. The yeast will do the job of maintaining carbon dioxide levels inside the sealed canister. Potatoes were picked because they could be used as a food source for future manned missions to the Moon.
“We have given consideration to future survival in space. Learning about these plants’ growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base,” said Professor XieGengxin, the experiment’s lead researcher, as per The South China Morning Post.
China has strong dreams of sending a manned mission to the Moon during the 2030s. The success of the biosphere experiment has established a strong foundation of human settlement on the moon.