One of the cotton seeds brought to the moon by the Chinese probe Chang & # 39; e-4 is the first to sprout on the moon, according to scientists in a mini-biosphere experiment on Tuesday.
After making the first soft landing on the other side of the moon, the Chinese mission Chang-e-4 pioneered the first mini biosphere moon experiment.
Professor Xie Gengxin of the University of Chongqing and chief designer of the experiment said a box installed on the Chang & e4; 4 probe contained cotton, rapeseed, potato and arabidopsis seeds, as well as fruit fly eggs. and some yeast, to form a simple mini biosphere.
Images sent by the probe showed that a cotton bud began to grow, although no other plant was found growing.
The cylinder, made of special aluminum alloy materials, is 198 mm high, with a diameter of 173 mm and a weight of 2.6 kg. It also contains water, soil, air, two small cameras and a heat control system, Xie said.
More than 170 photos were taken by cameras and shipped back to Earth, according to the team.
Why were these species chosen?
Xie said that potatoes can be an important source of food for future space travelers. The growing period of Arabidopsis, a small plant related to cabbage and mustard, is short and easy to observe. Yeast could play a role in the regulation of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the mini biosphere, and the fruit fly would be the consumer of the photosynthesis process.
Researchers used biological technology to make seeds and eggs inactive during the two months the probe passed final checks at the launch center and traveled for more than 20 days through space.
After Chang-e-4 landed on the other side of the moon on January 3, the ground control center instructed the spacecraft to water the plants to begin the growth process. A tube directs natural light on the surface of the moon into the vessel to allow the plants to grow.