четверг, 17 января 2019 г.

First moon plants Grown in China’s Chang’e 4 biosphere experiment

CLEP – China Lunar Exploration Program logo / Chongqing University logo.

Jan. 16, 2019

A sprouting cotton seed on China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander is the first plant ever to germinate on another world, heralding a new era for life in space.

Image above: Sprouting cotton plants on the moon. Other more images seen elsewhere are from the control setup on earth. Image Credit: Chongqing University.

Seeds of cotton, oilseed rape, potato and arabidopsis were carried to the moon as part of a biosphere experiment, along with fruit fly eggs and some yeast.

Pictures sent back by the probe show cotton, rape and potato seeds sprouting and growing well, the scientist leading the experiment, Liu Hanlong, told South China Morning Post. Chang’e 4 landed on the far side of the moon on 3 January and this image was dated 7 January.

Chang’e-4 biological experiment – The first cotton sprout on the far side of the Moon

The organisms are kept in a sealed chamber, protected from the extreme temperatures and intense radiation on the moon’s surface. Understanding how to grow plants in space will help lay the foundation for establishing a human settlement on the moon, Liu said.

The six organisms could make up a mini-ecosystem, with plants producing oxygen and food to sustain the fruit flies. Yeast could process the flies’ waste and dead plants to provide another food source.

In a future human settlement, potatoes could provide food, rapeseed could be a source of oil and cotton could be used for clothing.

Chang’e 4 lander-rover relayed back via satellite relay.Image Credits: CASC/CNSA

Plants have been grown before in orbit in the International Space Station, including cucumbers. Astronauts got their first bites of space-grown romaine lettuce in 2015. Algae have even managed to survive 530 days on a panel on the outside of the Space Station.

Related article & links:

Chang’e-4 Probe & Rover Takes Color Photos on Moon’s Far Side

Unpublished 360° picture of the hidden side of the Moon

China’s Yutu-2 rover Enters Standby Mode for ‘Noon Nap’ as Chang’e 4 Tests Continue

“Small step for the rover, big step for China”

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), visit: http://english.spacechina.com/n16421/index.html

For more information about China National Space Administration (CNSA), visit: http://www.cnsa.gov.cn/

Chongqing University: http://english.cqu.edu.cn/

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: CNSA/NewScientist.com/Sam Wong/China Central Television (CCTV)/Chongqing University/SciNews.

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