16 January 2019 Community news

China grows cotton on the Moon

Cotton seeds contained in a biosphere in Chang'e 4 start growing on the Moon

A picture sent back by Chang'e 4 showing cotton seeds growing on the surface of the Moon. Image: China Xinhua News
A picture sent back by Chang'e 4 showing cotton seeds growing on the surface of the Moon. Image: China Xinhua News

A cotton seed, carried to the moon by China's Chang'e-4 probe, is the first ever to sprout on the Moon, according to scientists involved in the mini biosphere experiment at the Chongqing University in southwest China.

After making the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the Moon at the start of the year, China's Chang'e-4 mission has pioneered the first mini biosphere experiment on the lunar surface.

The Chang'e-4 probe carried a number of seeds along with cotton, including, rape, potato and arabidopsis, as well as eggs of the fruit fly and some yeast, to form a simple mini biosphere.

Recently received images sent back by the probe showed that a cotton sprout had started growing, though none of the other seeds were found to be doing as well.

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