China's moon cotton experiment ends in freezing lunar night


The far side of the moon has been observed many times from lunar orbits, but never explored on the surface.

China is now the third country to establish a presence on the moon after the United States and Russian Federation.

During the 20-day journey from Earth to the far side of the moon, the cotton seeds and other plants were made dormant by "biological technology".

Liu previously revealed that the cotton seeds had been first to sprout, followed by the rapeseed and potato seeds that were also in the airtight container designed for growing plants and crops in shocking conditions aboard the Chang'e-4 probe.

"Life in the canister would not survive the lunar night", Xie said.

China became the first country to land a probe on the far side of the moon on January 3 when a rover named Yutu 2, or Jade Rabbit 2, touched down in the moon's largest and oldest impact crater, the South Pole-Aitken Basin. However, the bad news about the seed that sprouted on the moon hit like a storm. In the end, the water inside froze and the cotton plants dehydrated and died. Chongqing University calls the experiment a "lunar mini biosphere". The objective is for the come up with strategies that would assist scientists in future missions to the far side of the moon. The temperature can range from -173C to 100C.

Gengxin added that these plants could be used to grow food and make cooking oil.

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Even with these challenges, this represents a big milestone: it means that astronauts could have a practical likelihood of rising vegetation on missions to make use of for meals, oil, and different sources.

The only battery available in the spacecraft could not afford to keep the temperature inside the biosphere under control and the plants were doomed to die once the temperatures on the moon went beyond what life on Earth could endure.

But the good news over the plant's germination was quickly over.

Chang'e-4 is also equipped with instruments developed by scientists from Sweden, Germany and China to study the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and the interaction between solar wind and the moon's surface.

The plants and seeds would gradually decompose in the totally enclosed canister, and would not affect the lunar environment, according to the China National Space Administration.

Xinhua, China's state-owned press agency, announced the plants died on Sunday.