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China's Rides Successfully Grow the Cotton Plants on the Moon

A surprising news came from China's spacecraft, Chang'e-4. Growing the Earth plants on the Moon. Check the details here.

Penulis: Lia Sisvita Dinatri | Editor: Lia Sisvita Dinatri
The results of three-dimensional modeling of cotton plants that grow on the Moon. (Chongqing University / Victor Tangermann) -  A surprising news came from China's spacecraft, Chang'e-4. The first ride (Wahana) in history that successfully landed on the side of the moon announced that it had succeeded in growing the Earth plants on the Moon.

When it arrived on the far side of the Moon on January 3, 2019, Chang'e 4 carried a mini biosphere called the Micro Ecosystem of the Moon (LME) which weighed 2.6 kilograms. The shape is a cylinder with a length of 18 centimeters and a diameter of 16 centimeters.

In the biosphere, there are six embryos of living things, namely cotton seeds, potato seeds, rapa seeds, yeast, fruit fly eggs and Arabidopsis thaliana weeds. All six are stored in conditions resembling Earth, except the Moon's radiation, microgravity and temperature.

Of the six subjects, only one that was found successfully growing on the Moon, that's cotton seeds. Data received by the researchers even showed that the cotton plant was able to sprout up to have two leaves. 

Unfortunately, the first plants of the Earth that managed to grow on the Moon did not last long.

When one day on the Moon ends (equivalent to 14 days on Earth), the temperature of the Moon at night drops to minus 190 degrees Celsius. With temperatures so low, newly sprouted cotton plants die.

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However, this experiment is not something in vain. At this time, LME is still on the Moon to know its durability.

The study leader, Xie Gengxin from Chongqing University, also said he would continue the experiment to the next stage. He and his colleagues hope to be able to send more living creatures of the Earth to the Moon if possible.

One of the discussions before the launch of Chang'e 4 was a plan to send sea turtles to the Moon. However, the load limit is only three kilograms, making the plan canceled.

Moreover, even if the load limit is sufficient, the ride will run out of oxygen on the 20th day, and the turtle will die very miserably. (*) 

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