Chinese cotton seed sprouts on moon

Super Wolf Blood Moon Coming Jan. 20, Epic Eclipse To Last Over 1 Hour

Super Wolf Blood Moon Coming Jan. 20, Epic Eclipse To Last Over 1 Hour

According to South China Morning Post, Professor Liu Hanlong of Chongqing University, who led the research, revealed that the rapeseed and potato seeds brought to the Moon had also sprouted, but the cotton seeds were the first to germinate.

On Tuesday, Chinese media reported that one of the cotton seeds aboard the Chang'e 4 lunar lander sprouted, marking the first time that any biological matter has ever grown on the moon.

The Chang'e 4 is the first mission to land on and explore the Moon's far side, facing away from Earth.

Matt Damon, eat your heart out - China's growing plants in space!

The Chang'e-4 probe is two parts that are both a lunar rover and lander.

China has made space exploration a top priority in recent years, as it races to catch up with Russian Federation and the USA and become a major space power by 2030.

Images released by the CNSA now appear to show cotton seeds sprouting, in what the ruling Communist Party's official mouthpiece, The People's Daily, labelled a "first in human history".

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Xie said the experiment would allow scientists to learn how plants can grow in the "low gravity, strong radiation and natural lighting conditions of the Moon", according to the university.

The experiment's chief designer, Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University, told Xinhua that life inside the canister would not survive the lander's first lunar night, which started on Sunday.

Beijing plans to launch construction of its own manned space station next year. The space agency is developing preliminary plans for a crewed lunar landing mission in the 2030s, with the possibility of building a moon base with global cooperation afterward. The cotton can make material for astronaut's clothes.

Still, that might well be a giant leap for mankind, since it hints at the possibility of growing food on the moon to feed astronauts on long space missions without requiring them to return to Earth for additional supplies.

First published January 15, 8:19 a.m. PT. Update at 2:28 p.m. PT: Adds that the plant died.

China's ambitions for space and lunar exploration aren't limited to the current mission.

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