Chinese scientists germinate first seed on far side of the moon

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: In an out-of-this-world first, green-thumbed Chinese scientists have managed to sprout a plant on the far side of the moon, officials said Tuesday. “This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface,” said Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment.

The sprout emerged from a lattice-like structure inside a canister since the country’s Chang’e-4 lander set down on Jan. 3, according to images released by the Advanced Technology Research Institute at Chongqing University.

Scientists who designed the “mini lunar biosphere” experiment sent a 7-inch container holding air, water and soil. Inside are cotton, potato and Arabidopsis seeds — a plant of the mustard family — as well as fruit fly eggs and yeast. A cotton sprout has grown well, but so far none of the other plants has taken, the scientists said.

“We have given consideration to future survival in space. Learning about these plants’ growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base,” said Professor Liu Hanlong, head of the experiment.

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