First ever plant on the moon. Seeds aboard the Chinese lander have germinated

The seeds that flew to the Moon aboard China’s Chang’e-4 mission have begun to germinate, reported the scientists responsible for the project from Chongqing University. They also published photos of their lunar beds.

On January 3, China deposited a lander with a rover on the side of the Moon invisible from Earth. This is the first landing ever on the other side of the Silver Globe. On board the lander was a sealed container, in which theorym specialists from the Middle Kingdom have placed seeds of Earth plants to test their ability to grow in conditions of low lunar gravity and strong radiation.

Images released by the Advanced Technology Research Institute at Chongqing University show that cotton seeds have begun to sprout. You can see a truss-like structure on them, with ktorej a green shoot emerges. This is the first plant thatora grown on the Moon.

– This is the first time humans have conducted biological growth experiments on the surface of the moon, said Xie Gengxin, ktory conducts the experiment. The lunar mini-biosphere is actually a cylinder-shaped container measuring 18 x 16 centimetersow.

Oprocz cotton seeds to the Moon also flew common radish seeds, potato seeds and silkworm eggsow, small flies from the wywilnna family and yeast. Silkworms and midges hatch from the eggs, ktore will produce carbon dioxide, while plants will emit oxygen through photosynthesis. Together they are expected to create a simple ecosystem.

Wybor of the plants was no accident. Cotton could eventually be used to make clothes, potatoes could feed astronautsoin, and the common radish can be used to produce biofuel. The plants are also characterized by high resistance to changing conditions.

Since the temperature on the moon can vary between -170 deg. Celsius a 100 st. C., cylinder, in whichorym where the plants are located must meet the right conditions to keep the biosphere at a moderate temperature. If the experiment is successful, it will be a big step toward creating a fully functional base on the Moon.

The container in whichorym there are seeds. Photo. Chongqing University

These are not the first plants growing outside Earth. Experiments are being conducted all the time on the International Space Station (ISS) in this area. Scientists grow plants to study growth changes in microgravity and zrotify the diet of astronautsow while they were in space.

The ability to grow plants in space is seen as crucial for long-term space missions and the creation of human outpostsowek in other parts of the solar system, such as, for example, Mars. Making food in space, preferably with locally sourced water, would mean astronauts could survive much longer without returning to Earth for supplies.

Another interesting fact related to "The space plants are the so-called “space plants”. "lunar trees". In 1971, Apollo 14 mission astronaut Stuart Roos took tree seeds with him –, sycamore. These seeds completed with him 34 orbits wokoMoonlight. When the astronaut wrohe seeds were planted on Earth by. One of them commemorated 200 years of the state’s independenceoin the United. Unfortunately, the recent Hurricane Irma destroyed the tree.

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

— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) January 15, 2019

The lander, along with the rover, has settled in the Von K craterármáOn. The crater is part of a structure called the South Pole-Aitken Basin, one of the largest known impact structures in the entire Solar System and the oldest on the Moon. Researchers believe that this structure with a diameter of 2,500 kilometersow and a depth of 13 kilometersow, is a key area thatory may provide answers to some important questions about the Moon’s early history, including its internal structure and thermal evolution.

China’s National Space Agency has sent eight instruments to the Moonoin scientific to study the structure and mineral composition of the surface of the part of the Silver Globe not visible from Earth. The Chinese mission will also make observations of deep space from the unseen side of the moon, where there are no man-made interferences with theoradio censors. It will help researchers learn more about the origins of the Solar System and even the birth of the first stars in the Universe.