Cotton seeds China carried to the Moon sprouted
Almaty. January 15. KazTAG - Cotton seeds that traveled to the Moon with China’s spacecraft Chang’e-4 have sprouted, according to CGTN, the global arm of state broadcaster CCTV. The news came about two weeks after the lander and rover touched down on the Moon’s far side to conduct a series of experiments including testing the sustainability of plant life, studying the celestial body’s composition and history, and looking for clues to the universe’s origins.
For the “mini lunar biosphere” experiment, southwestern China-based Chongqing University sent along a 7-inch-tall bucket-like tin with air, water, and soil that contains cotton, potato, and arabidopsis seeds—the latter is a plant in the mustard family—as well as fruit fly eggs and yeast. The team was originally planning to send silkworm cocoons at the time the project was revealed to the public in April but later opted for fruit flies instead, state media Guancha reported in December (link in Chinese). It’s unclear why they swapped, but it could be that fruit fly is a better fit for a demanding growing environment.
Photo source: picture from an open source