China successfully sprouts cotton seeds on the moon in a historic first

Eugene Garcia  EPA FILE

Eugene Garcia EPA FILE

Some other seeds that reportedly sprouted include rapeseed and potato seeds. A tube directed natural light on the surface of the Moon into the canister to allow the plants to grow.

Worldwide discussions about sending humans to the Moon and Mars have brought many challenges waiting to be solved, and among them is food supply. Since then, the lander, rover, and communication satellite have been working together to feed information back to Earth, and there's good news for future astronauts who'll need to grow their own food off-world. Previously, plants have been grown on the International Space Station, but this is the first time that any biological matter has grown on the Moon, according to the BBC.

After Chang'e-4 landed on the far side of the Moon on January 3, the ground control centre instructed the probe to water the plants to start the growing process.

China's Chang'e-4 probe has successfully germinated seeds on the dark side of the Moon in a miniature, artificial biosphere, providing hope for the future of sustainable, long-distance manned space travel.

The mini biosphere experiment was developed by a team of scientists from Chongqing University in southwest China in collaboration with researchers from 26 domestic scientific research institutions and universities, according to Liu Hanlong, vice chancellor of the Chongqing University.

China's ambitions for space and lunar exploration aren't limited to the current mission. "And with time moving on, it'll be the first plant with green leaves on the moon", Xie said.

The space agency is already looking ahead to its next lunar mission, Chang'e 5, which is created to collect lunar samples and bring them back to Earth.

The Chinese Moon lander was carrying among its cargo soil containing cotton and potato seeds, yeast and fruit fly eggs. He said that the cotton and rapeseed were chosen because they could provide the astronauts with the raw material needed to produce clothing and oil.

Wu Yanhua, the deputy head of the China National Space Administration also announced that China will send a mission to Mars in 2020.

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.

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