Could this mean that we may be able to grow plants on the moon?
This marks, yet another, giant leap for mankind.
On January 3, China’s Chang’e-4 landed on the Moon’s far side making it the first mission to land facing away from Earth. Not long after it’s landing, the seeds that were taken up have begun to sprout marking it as the first time that any biological matter has grown on the Moon! Among its cargo, the Chang’e-4 brought soil containing cotton, potato seeds, yeast, and fruit fly eggs – the cotton seeds are the first to grow buds.
Plants have been grown on the International Space Station in the past, but never has anything been grown on the moon. Growing plants on the Moon could lead to long-term space missions like traveling to Mars, which would take around two-and-a-half years. With the ability to grow and harvest food in space, astronauts could spend longer periods of time on a mission by eliminating having to come back to Earth to resupply.
The mini biosphere on the Chang’e-4 is designed to test “photosynthesis and respiration”, so the organisms inside have a supply of air, water, and nutrients to grow; but keeping the temperature favorable for growth poses as a challenge due to the Moon’s fluctuating conditions.
Some people are concerned with this experiment “contaminating” the moon, but scientists aren’t too worried. It probably has something to do with the 100 bags of human waste left on the moon by the Apollo astronauts, not posing any threat to date.
So… anyone else starting to look into real estate on the moon?
[Photos from BBC News]