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China Sprouts First Seed on the Moon

China Sprouts First Seed on the Moon


  • GS3|| Science & Technology || Space || Miscellaneous

Why in news?

  • Chinese researchers have announced that cotton seeds transported to the moon have sprouted, marking the first time humans have grown biological matter on moon.


  • When its Chang’e-4 spacecraft touched down on the lunar surface it was carrying an airtight container, worth an estimated $1.8 million, designed for growing crops in shocking conditions.
  • The seeds were sent as part of China’s Chang’e-4 mission, a probe which landed on the far side of the moon recently.
  • The 18cm-high aluminium alloy cylinder — called a moon surface micro-ecological circle — also contains silkworm eggs, fruit flies and seeds for potatoes, cress and rapeseed, among others.

Why can’t we grow plants on moon?

  • Vacuum of space, massive doses of radiation irradiating the surface, no bacteria or available nutrients in the soil. So it is not possible to grow plants on the lunar soil.
  • Will the moon be contaminated?
  • Some have raised the question of whether the experiment risks “contaminating” the Moon with biological material, but scientists generally think this is of little concern.

Additional information – About Chang’e-4 Mission

  • Chang’e-4 is a part of China’s Lunar Exploration programme and seeks to explore the far side or dark side of the moon.
  • Chang’e-4 will be the second Chinese probe to land on the moon following the Yutu (“Jade Rabbit”) rover mission in 2013.