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Space & Astronomy

Cotton seeds have started growing on the Moon

By T.K. Randall
January 15, 2019 · Comment icon 26 comments

A glimpse of the world's first moon cotton. Image Credit: CNSA / CLEP
In a world first, seeds carried to the Moon aboard China's Chang'e 4 spacecraft have actually started to sprout.
Contained within a sealed miniature biosphere along with air, water and nutrients, the seeds - which include cotton and potatoes - are the first ever to start growing on the surface of another world.

Up until now, the only seeds grown in space were on an orbiting space station.

The news marks another major success for Chang'e 4 which has already made history by becoming the first spacecraft ever to touch down on the far side of the Moon.

By demonstrating that it is possible to grow plants on the lunar surface, it has opened the door to the possibility of seeing humans living and working on the Moon for long periods of time.
"It suggests that there might not be insurmountable problems for astronauts in future trying to grow their own crops on the Moon in a controlled environment," said astronomer Fred Watson.

"I think there's certainly a great deal of interest in using the Moon as staging post, particularly for flights to Mars, because it's relatively near the Earth."

Experiment chief designer Prof Xie Gengxin was also optimistic about the achievement.

"We have given consideration to future survival in space," he said.

"Learning about these plants' growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base."

Source: BBC News | Comments (26)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 5 years ago
This comment could only be made by someone that knows nothing about the Chinese space programme and NASA.
Comment icon #18 Posted by qxcontinuum 5 years ago
Consider the comment made by a readers digest nerd, who finds his favorite magazine lacking pleasant articles and subject but suddenly finds a competitor delivering everything he wants you don't have to be an expert to enjoy clear photos, not edited 
Comment icon #19 Posted by AtlantisRises 5 years ago
My Asian fiancé dislikes old cheese also.  
Comment icon #20 Posted by third_eye 5 years ago
Absolutely, Century Eggs are just so much better, with a slice of pickled ginger and a dash of lemon ~
Comment icon #21 Posted by Timothy 5 years ago
You don’t have to be an expert to find clear NASA photos. Reader’s Digest is not their primary means of publication, in case you weren’t aware.  What do you mean by the Chinese photos being ‘not edited’? I think I know where you’re going, but you’ll have to clarify. Are all of the Chinese images you’ve seen raw and unedited? 
Comment icon #22 Posted by Skulduggery 5 years ago
Century eggs are great with steamed frog legs on a lotus leaf.
Comment icon #23 Posted by third_eye 5 years ago
True, century eggs goes rather well with fish too which is weird ... ~
Comment icon #24 Posted by psyche101 5 years ago
  You were saying??? 
Comment icon #25 Posted by TripGun 5 years ago
Great new jobs on the moon...
Comment icon #26 Posted by qxcontinuum 5 years ago
Four images from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to create this enhanced color global view of Pluto.  NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI Exactly this:  

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