China's Yutu-2 Lander Grows Cotton On The Moon; A Biological First

Science

Breaking new grounds on the moon, China, has recently successfully grown cotton on the moon, as per international reports. The plant survived for one lunar day

Written By Suchitra Karthikeyan | Mumbai | Updated On:
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Breaking new grounds on the moon, China, has recently successfully grown cotton on the moon, as per international reports. Reports state that China's Chang'E 4  mission - Yutu-2 lander has grown a cotton plant on the far side of the moon. The cotton plant was one of several organisms in a mini biosphere aboard the Yutu-2 lander. This is the biological first where a plant has been grown on the of the moon.

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China grows cotton on moon

Talking to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the project lead Vie Gengxin said that the team selected five species of biological organisms to send to the moon. He explained that seeds of cotton, potato, arabidopsis, yeast, and fruit-fly eggs had been selected. He stated that while most died quickly, cotton seeds sprouted and grew not one but two leaves. Previously, plants have been grown in the International Space Station.

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Cotton crop survives two weeks

However, reports add that the leaves died within one lunar day, which is equivalent to two weeks here on Earth. Scientists have claimed that the dramatic temperature drop due to lunar night and absence of external heating had led to the crop's ultimate death. The team had initially reportedly planned to send animals as part of the experiment - including a tortoise. But it was scrapped due to limited availability of oxygen.

“Even though it is very meaningful to choose tortoise, the oxygen inside the payload can only be used for about 20 days for turtles,” Xie explained to IEEE. He added that in the future, his team plans to send more complex organisms including animals to the moon. China's Chang'E 6 mission is scheduled for early 2020 as per reports. This may be an opportunity for China to test their theory.

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Yutu-2's latest moon images

Earlier in September, China's Yutu-2 which was the first to soft-land on the far side of the lunar surface has recently captured an interesting image on the moon -showing some mysterious material discovered, as per international reports. Reports say that Yutu-2 which is China's Chang'e-4 mission's lunar mission, has spotted a 'gel-like' substance while roving close to a small crater. Scientists have reportedly now analysed the substance despite the risks. China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft successfully landed on the moon's far side on January 2.'

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