The first step to towards living outside planet Earth and being able to grow food crop has been made by China. Onboard the Chinese lunar lander, scientists had planted a cotton seed and a shoot has begun growing.
The Chang’e 4 lander touched down on the moon earlier this month and according to a series of pictures released by the Advanced Technology Research Institute at Chongqing University. A small green shoot is seen emerging.
“This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface,” said Xie Gengxin, the lead of the experiment’s design.
Well, this group of scientists achieved record-breaking feet, but plants have been growing on the International Space Station for years. However, no one has ever tried the same on the surface of the moon until the Chinese just recently.
A seed germinating is nothing to fuss about really, except this one that is doing so on the surface of another rock in space. That is the first seed germination documented by humans on another rock floating in space other than planet Earth.
If the scientists could plant, grow, and harvest food while on the moon or any other rocky object floating around in space somewhere; ideally with local water. Then manned mission to space will be more affordable and somewhat self-sustaining. It would also be the first step of humans from Earth going to colonize another celestial body in space.
The Chang’e 4 probe made its first landing on the far side of the moon on January 3. Marking a huge achievement for China’s space exploration ambitions.
Scientists from the Chongqing University who designed the “mini lunar biosphere,” placed an 18cm bucket-like container. In which there was water, air, and soil. Additionally, there were some cotton, Arabidopsis (a small flowering plant from the mustard family), potato seeds, yeast, and fruit-fly eggs. It is only the cotton plant that has germinated. None of the other plants have sprouted.