China has sprouted cotton seed on the moon
COTTON seeds that traveled to the Moon with China’s spacecraft Chang’e-4 have sprouted, according to CGTN, the global arm of state broadcaster CCTV. The news came after the lander and rover touched down on the Moon’s far side to conduct a series of experiments including testing the sustainability of plant life, studying the celestial body’s composition and history, and looking for clues to the universe’s origins.
China is trying to see if it can keep plants alive in the space, as part of its research efforts towards having a lunar base one day. It is a fact that scientists have been able to grow plants in the space—including zinnias, sunflowers and leafy greens on the International Space Station—but never on the Moon.
The unmanned Chang’e-4 probe touched down on 4 January 2019 in the deepest, oldest crater of the lunar surface — a landscape that always faces away from Earth and has been virtually untouched for billions of years
The landing confirmed China’s military-run space programme as a leading power as competition builds to explore the moon after a decades-long lull.
Nasa plans to build a manned, lunar-orbiting space station in the 2020s.
For the “mini lunar biosphere” experiment, southwestern China-based Chongqing University sent along a 7-inch-tall bucket-like tin with air, water, and soil that contains cotton, potato, and
Scientists at Chongqing University explained earlier that a tube inside the tin will direct natural light from the moon for photosynthesis, while any plants that grow will emit oxygen, hopefully creating a little ecosystem. The team hopes to live broadcast the progress of the organisms.
In 2013, NASA announced a plan to conduct a similar experiment to study how seeds including basil, turnips, and
“It’s the first time humans have achieved growing living things on the Moon,” a challenging environment of low gravity, high radiation, and huge temperature differences, CCTV said.
“The sprout will keep growing and we can expect it to become the first green leaf on the Moon,” said CGTN (link in Chinese).
Chinese scientists now hope more plants will root and sprout in the container, producing the first flower ever grown on the moon.
They hope to see the results towards the end of a 100-day experimental period, according to the country’s space agency.
A statement was released, announcing their first breakthrough in the experiment by publishing a picture of
The seed had been germinated inside the
The probe’s silkworm eggs will hopefully hatch soon into moths, according to local media outlet SCMP.
Variation of temperatures on the moon
However, cultivating the crops won’t be easy, as temperatures on the moon’s surface can soar to 100C during the day, and drop to -100C at night. To manage this, the team designed the container to maintain a temperature of between 1C and 30C.
While this is by no means the first plant grown in space, it is the first to be grown on the moon.
Professor Xie Gengxin, the Chinese scientist in charge of the lunar plant experiment, said if successful, the project would signal that China was catching up in space exploration.
China also released incredible footage of
The spacecraft carefully
The gravity of the moon is about 1/6 of the Earth’s. That means you would weigh much less on the moon and if you dropped something, it would fall much slower than here on Earth.
The average distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the moon is 238,897 miles.
The moon is bigger than Pluto
The moon is the fifth largest moon in the solar system and is bigger than Pluto. It takes 29.53 days for the moon to cycle through its eight different phases.The moon’s average distance from Earth is 384,400 km or 238,855 miles. The radius of the moon averages 1,079.6 miles, which is around 27% of the Earth’s radius.
The temperature of the moon ranges from -280 degrees F to 260 degrees F.The lighter areas are called terrae, which is Latin for “lands.” These are the rugged highlands which were the original crust of the moon. They are full of craters from asteroids, meteoroids, and comets.
The darker areas are called Maria, which is Latin for “seas.” Since these areas are smooth and dark, they look like seas. They