China moon mission's next task: Getting samples back to earth

China moon mission's next task: Getting samples back to earth

China moon mission's next task: Getting samples back to earth

The lander touched down on the Von Kármán crater on 3 January, and beamed back the first-ever "close range" image of the far side of the Moon, which is never visible from Earth. "And we could not simulate the lunar environment, such as microgravity and cosmic radiation, on Earth", said Xie Gengxin, senior scientist at the Chongqing University and chief designer of the mini biosphere experiment.

The China National Space Agency's Chang'e 4 lander is exploring the mysterious side of our lunar neighbor that faces away from Earth.

China says it has grown the first plants on the Moon as part of its historic mission to the far side.

The items inside the canister act as 'producers, consumers, and decomposers in the micro-ecosystem, head of the experiment, Professor Liu Hanlong, told the South China Morning Post.

The confirmation that cotton seeds have begun to sprout aboard China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander marks the first time biological matter has been grown on the Moon's surface.


Along with cotton, five other species-seeds of rapeseed, potato and Arabidopsis, fruit fly eggs and yeast-were also aboard, but neither images nor clear reports on these have been released. It might reduce the need of astronauts of coming back to the Earth to replenish their food supplies for lengthy space explorations. Chang'e is a name of the Chinese moon goddess.

China's The Long March 3B rocket, transporting the Chang'e-4 lunar rover in December. "Whether the probe will land on the near side or the far side of the moon, we will make the decision according to the performance of Chang'e 5", he said. These plants could be used to produce food or they could be incorporated into future life support systems-both of which would be crucial to long-term space missions.

The 18cm high aluminum alloy cylinder - called a moon surface micro-ecological circle - contains silkworm eggs and seeds for potatoes and cress. The telemetry information and images taken by a camera on the probe showed that the spacecraft effectively avoided obstacles during its descent.

Charles Cockell, a professor of astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, told Newsweek that the latest achievement is "very significant" because it shows a proof of concept for growing plants on the moon.

Some space and global affairs analysts estimated that China's forays into lunar exploration could inspire a new space race of sorts.

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