Exciting news from space this week, as cotton seeds sent to the Moon by China have sprouted.
No, you have not accidentally slept for 50 years and woken up in the future, the year is still very much 2019.
The seeds made it to the Moon as part of the Chang’e 4 mission which is also the first mission to the far-side of the moon.
The mission touched down on the Moon on 3rd January and this week the China National Space Administration reported that cotton seeds aboard the mission had sprouted.
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
The cotton seeds are not alone however. According to a report by BBC, there is a sealed container on board Chang’e 4 which contains potato seeds, yeast and fruit fly eggs. The hope is that this will form a mini-biosphere.
While sprouts don’t seem all that exciting it’s worth keeping in mind that temperatures on the Moon can range from 127 degrees Celsius and -173 degrees Celsius.
Being able to sprout seeds in such harsh conditions (even though we realise the environment is heavily regulated) could mean good news for future missions further into space.
The Moon could make a decent pitstop for astronauts in the future should the biosphere aboard Chang’e 4 flourish.
We’re keen to see how this experiment goes so we’ll be keeping a close eye on developments in the coming weeks and months.[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]