Earlier this month, China’s Chang’e-4 Lunar probe made history and became the first spacecraft to land on the dark side of the moon, which was previously unexplored by humans. It also carried cotton, potato, and several other seeds on the voyage. Now, they’re starting to sprout, with cotton being the first with a green shoot. Several plants and vegetables have been grown inside the International Space Station, but China’s sprouts mark the first time a biological element has grown on the moon.
Is it possible then that astronauts will be able to grow their own food on the moon? Professor Xie Gengxin, who designed the experiment, told the South China Morning Post, ‘ it could help establish a permanent base in space’.
The seeds were planted in a sealed climate-controlled container and began to sprout within a week. Chinese scientists are also attempting to grow seeds from rapeseed, potato and mouse-ear cress, and are trying to hatch fruit fly eggs.