The China National Space Administration stated that the cotton seeds brought to the Moon by the Chang’e 4 probe have sprouted. This significant event is the first time that a biological experiment was conducted by humankind on the moon.
The moon lander carried a sealed aluminium container with soil, the cotton seeds, yeast, and fruit fly eggs, creating an artificial, self-sustaining environment in which the plants can grow. It is also designed such that temperatures between 1 and 30 degrees are maintained. Otherwise, the moon’s surface is not conducive for life, with temperatures ranging from -173 degrees to 100 degrees.
The Chang’e 4 mission was launched in December 2018 and was the first to have explored the far side of the moon. The far side is the one that is not seen from the Earth. It touched down on the surface of the moon on 3rd January.
This experiment could also have some optimistic consequences for the space community worldwide. It might reduce the need of astronauts of coming back to the Earth to replenish their food supplies for lengthy space explorations. Rather, they could harvest and grow their food on the moon.