China Sprouts First-Ever Plants on the Moon's Surface

China Sprouts First-Ever Plants on the Moon's Surface

China Sprouts First-Ever Plants on the Moon's Surface

Xie Gengxin, dean of Institute of Advanced Technology at Chongqing University, and the chief designer of the experiment, praised the achievement on the university's blog.

Weeks ago, China became the first nation to land a lunar rover on the dark side of the Moon, marking a historic high point for the nation's space program that has been rapidly closing the capability gap created by decades of American and Russian space endeavors.

China's space agency, China National Space Administration, has just revealed a new photo showing a cotton seed that the Chang'e-4 probe brought to the Moon sprouting.

The China National Space Administration also is planning its first mission to Mars in 2020. Yeast, fruit flies, and rock cress were also sent aboard Chang'e-4 as part of an experiment to investigate growth in low-gravity environments. It might reduce the need of astronauts of coming back to the Earth to replenish their food supplies for lengthy space explorations.

First, it's a wolf moon, a traditional name for full moons in winter.

The Chang'e 4 lander and Yutu 2 rover have now entered lunar night, and have gone into a sort of sleep mode as a result.

China wants to establish a lunar research base one day, possibly using 3D printing technology to build facilities, the Chinese space agency said Monday.

A cylindrical view of the first panorama returned from the Chang'e-4 lander within Von Kármán crater on the far side of the Moon. The telemetry information and images taken by the probe showed that the spacecraft effectively avoided obstacles during its descent, the report said.

The breakthrough is seen as key to future space missions, as the ability to grow plants could be key to longer-term missions such as journeys to Mars. Some other seeds that reportedly sprouted include rapeseed and potato seeds.

For years, crew members aboard the International Space Station have been tending to a "space garden", a chamber that has grown lettuce, radishes and other foods.

The state-run China Daily said that was the first such form of cooperation since the 2011 U.S. law was enacted.

North America hasn't had a decent view of this special scene in at least three years and another total lunar eclipse - which occurs when the entire Moon enters Earth's shadow - isn't expected to happen again until 2021, NASA predicts.

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