Chinese cotton seed sprouts on moon

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China landed its Chang'e 4 spacecraft on the Moon's far side on January 3, becoming the first nation to do so. The seeds are for rapeseed, potato, Arabidopsis and cotton. A team of researchers at Chongqing University in southwest China designed the experiment, reports the GBTimes.

The mission is part of China's ambitious push to explore the Moon's resources and its potential as a space base.

The seeds began growing once they received water from the probe via a command from a ground control centre. Yeast could play a role in regulating carbon dioxide and oxygen in the mini biosphere, and the fruit fly would be a consumer of the photosynthesis process.

Xie Gengxin, dean of Institute of Advanced Technology at Chongqing University and the chief designer of the experiment, said it was a world first. The temperature can range from -173C to 100C. We could probably make some nice sweaters from moon-grown cotton.

According to Fred Watson of the Australian Astronomical Observatory, the development represented a step in the right direction.

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Still, that might well be a giant leap for mankind, since it hints at the possibility of growing food on the moon to feed astronauts on long space missions without requiring them to return to Earth for additional supplies.

Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the national space agency, speaks during a press conference held in Beijing, China, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

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. Scientists from Sweden, Germany and China are involved in the making of the instruments required for Chang'e 4 to study the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and interaction between solar wind and the moon's surface.

Pictures released by the China National Space Administration released pictures showing a rocky surface with the jagged edge of craters in the background, posing a challenge for controllers in plotting the rover's travels, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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