China succeeds in growing plant on moon, creates yet another history

Enlarge ImageA 2018 super blood moon as seen from Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado.                  NPS  Patrick Myers

Enlarge ImageA 2018 super blood moon as seen from Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. NPS Patrick Myers

The seeds and eggs were kept dormant until their lunar arrival, after which time they were watered by the lander.

The crops will try to form a mini biosphere - an artificial, self-sustaining environment created to test photosynthesis and respiration.

The Chang'e-4 mission has also brought along fruit flies to form a "lunar mini biosphere", helping scientists understand how animals and crops interact in different environments.

"This (mission) has achieved the first biological experiment on the moon of human history, to sprout the first bud on the desolate moon". With the ability to grow edible plants, astronauts could grow and harvest their own food, enabling long-term habitation.

Scientists will continue to watch the biosphere with their fingers crossed in the hope that the insect eggs manage to hatch.

Earlier, space travelers grew plants on the International Space Station (ISS) and China's Tiangong-2 space lab in low Earth orbit (400 Km above the Earth) but the moon was a much more challenging environment to grow plants which was also hard to simulate on the Earth. The yeast is used to decompose plant material and provide the files with other food sources.

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Video taken from the Chang'e-4 probe shows its view as it hovered over Earth's rocky neighbor before quickly dropping toward its surface.

"We have given consideration to future survival in space", Liu told the Hong Kong-based news outlet.

"My firm belief is that we should integrate China into the International Space Station program".

"Although it is a biological payload, it laid a foundation and technological support for our next step, that is, to build a lunar base for living", said Xie Gengxin, chief designer of the biological experiment payload, Chang'e-4 lunar mission.

Charles Cockell, a professor of astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, told Newsweek that the latest achievement is "very significant" because it shows a proof of concept for growing plants on the moon. "A lunar eclipse can only happen during a full moon when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun", Walter Freeman, an assistant teaching professor in the Physics Department at Syracuse University, said in an emailed statement to Fox News.

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