China recently sent up a Moon lander which is going to collect data and conduct experiments on the lunar surface. It has conducted an experiment which marks the first time that humans have grown plants on the Moon. The lander was able to successfully sprout small cotton plants as part of a biological experiment. Flowers and other plants have previously been grown in Earth orbit, though.
This isn’t the only first clinched by this lander. China’s Chang’e-4 mission also became the first time that a man-made vehicle landed on the far side of the Moon. The robot sent up has a lander and a rover which is carrying several experiments and devices to study the Moon’s terrain.
A 6.6 pound canister has been sent along which has six different biological species that were intended to grow on the surface. The canister has seeds for potato, cotton, rapeseed, and Arabidopsis. Yeast and fruit fly eggs are also included in an attempt to form a small ecosystem. Xinhua reports that the Moon lander was able to sprout tiny cotton plants.
The biology experiment was activated and given water soon after Chang’e-4 landed. China has now posted pictures of the payload which show the sprouting plants. However, it doesn’t seem like any of the other species in the canister are growing.
First in human history: A cotton seed brought to the moon by China's Chang'e 4 probe has sprouted, the latest test photo has shown, marking the completion of humankind's first biological experiment on the moon pic.twitter.com/CSSbgEoZmC
— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) January 15, 2019