China’s Plants that Spouted on the Moon Didn’t Survive the First Lunar Night

The experiment was a success.

Despite the fact that the cotton seeds that sprouted on the moon’s surface in a historical achievement didn’t survive the first lunar night (mostly due to its freezing temperatures) scientists learned a plethora of things about how to grow plants in an environment entirely different from that on Earth.

The experiment performed by Chinese scientists inside a small aluminum container has helped us understand what we need to do to grow food on distant alien moons and distant worlds.

A photo of the cotton sprout. ‘This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface,’ said Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment. Image Credit: cqu.edu.cn.
A photo of the cotton sprout. ‘This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface,’ said Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment. Image Credit: cqu.edu.cn.

As noted by XinhuaNet, the first plant that successfully sprouted on the moon did not make it through the freezing temperatures on the moon’s far side.

The cotton seeds were transported to the far side of the moon on January 3 as the Chinese Chang’e-4 spaceport made history successfully landing on the moon.

The Cotton seeds germinated inside an airtight container, designed to test the possibility of growing food for astronauts in distant worlds.

But the plant did not last long: the low temperatures on the Moon, which can reach up to -170 ° C during the night, put an end to its short life.

And while some people may already call out the experiment as a failed one, the truth is it was a success in its totality.

The participating scientists in the experiment explained that the brevity of the experiment was foreseen.

“Life in the container would not survive the lunar night,” professor Xie Gengxin from the University of Chongqing, told XinhuaNet.

“We had no such experience before. And we could not simulate the lunar environment, such as microgravity and cosmic radiation, on Earth,” Professor Xie added.

And now that the experiment has ended, the organisms inside the container will eventually decompose in the airtight container. Scientists noted that they will not affect the lunar environment.

As explained by Xinhuan, scientists expect the experiment could help acquire knowledge for constructing a lunar outpost and long-term residence on the moon.

Via
Xinhuanet
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