China's Moon mission sees first seeds sprout

15 January 2019 02:15 pm - 12     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Seeds taken up to the Moon by China's Chang'e-4 mission have sprouted, the BBC reported today quoting the China National Space Administration.

It marks the first time any biological matter has grown on the Moon, and is being seen as a significant step towards long-term space exploration.

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

It touched down on January 3, carrying instruments to analyse the region's geology.

Plants have been grown on the International Space Station before but never on the Moon.

The ability to grow plants on the Moon will be integral for long-term space missions, like a trip to Mars which would take about two-and-a-half years.

It would mean that astronauts could potentially harvest their own food in space, reducing the need to come back down to Earth to resupply.

The Chinese Moon lander was carrying among its cargo soil containing cotton and potato seeds, yeast and fruit fly eggs.

The plants are in a sealed container on board the lander. The crops will try to form a mini biosphere - an artificial, self-sustaining environment.

On Tuesday, Chinese state media said the cotton seeds had now grown buds.

The People's Daily tweeted an image of the sprouted seed, saying it marked "the completion of humankind's first biological experiment on the Moon".

Fred Watson, Australian Astronomical Observatory's astronomer-at-large, has told the BBC the development was "good news".

"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," he said.

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  Comments - 12

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  • Nisha Tuesday, 15 January 2019 02:29 PM

    Now our politicos will promise rice from moon.

    Potato Tuesday, 15 January 2019 07:06 PM

    SL potato growers should rise up immediately! Chinese potatoes will take over our market !!

    Minja Tuesday, 15 January 2019 02:37 PM

    "Seed - Made in China"

    Banda Tuesday, 15 January 2019 03:18 PM

    This is the difference between the narrowly focused Western mind and the flexible and intelligent Eastern mind.That is why the Americans who sent probes and landed humans in the moon many decades ago still never thought of conducting any biological experiments on the moon surface.

    Expatriate Tuesday, 15 January 2019 05:28 PM

    You are absolutely right but most Sri Lankans would not understand your point.

    Podi Banda Tuesday, 15 January 2019 07:02 PM

    Talking of Eastern minds, we are still unable to work according to a constitution. Oh, are we in the eastern region !!!?

    Ahmed Tuesday, 15 January 2019 09:03 PM

    @Podi Banda what made you think he is talking about our fail nation ? far east asian countries are far ahead of us

    Jack Tuesday, 15 January 2019 03:39 PM

    No warranty. No guarantee

    bo Tuesday, 15 January 2019 03:44 PM

    Dont mind fresh veg from the Moon chena, but why on earth fruit fly eggs were taken. Please keep the Moon free from parasites :)

    Manel Fonseka Tuesday, 15 January 2019 04:11 PM

    Fantastic!

    Sam Tuesday, 15 January 2019 05:53 PM

    Can't take karapincha to Italy due to risk of parasites. Moon no problem

    NIHAL Tuesday, 15 January 2019 07:41 PM

    CHINA LEADERSHIP TECHNOLOGY FAR MORE THAN WORLD THINKS BUT WHAT OUR POLITICIANS DO GRUMBLING FOR POWER FOR THEIR ENTIRE FAMILIES BENEFITS


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