For the first time in the chronicles, h China managed to plant a cotton seed on the moon. THE device for the experiment was placed inside the robotic catheter sent to the moon as part of the mission Chang'e 4 moon.
The Chinese team working on the project sought to recreate an environment similar to that of the earth. In addition to the cotton seed, four other biological organisms were selected, including potato seeds, Arabidopsis seeds, weeds, fruit flies, etc.
At the same time they were able to maintain the installation weight below 3 kg due to transport restrictions and maintain 1 atmospheric pressure. However, the plant species selected had to cope with microbial and radiation to the moon.
But what made the mission more difficult was its huge decline temperature observed on the moon during the lunar night. Sometimes it can even reach - 190 degrees Celsius. The result was that all organisms except cotton seeds died, as the plant had no external heat.
Although the cotton seeds were able to grow and even sprout two leaves, the plant could not live after a lunar day, which is 14 days on earth.
The experiment began shortly after Chang'e 4 landing moon on 3 January 2019. But even after the plant's death the team continued monitoring for several months, (until May) to see if equipment can survive.
The researchers also released one 3D reconstructed image, showing the two leaves of the cotton plant.
Initially, they also thought of sending animals to the moon, for example a small turtle. But the limited oxygen supply to the sensor did not allow it.
Xie Gengxin and his team at Chongqing University's Institute of Technology Research are the ones who designed the experiment. They will try to send more complex life forms to future experiments, most likely the Chang'e 6 mission, due to take place at the beginning of the 2020 decade.
However, this experiment is not the first to have attempted to grow plants outside the Earth's atmosphere. In the past, scientists have succeeded in growing a plant inside the International Space Center. But China went a step further, achieving the first organic crop on the moon!