China has made great efforts in exploring the lunar surface.
In the last couple of years, this Asian superpower has made galloping progress in space exploration.
Their latest achievement is worthy of every praise.
Now, for the first time since Apollo 17, Earth’s natural satellite has living organisms on its surface.
They are no E.T. of course.
Thanks to the Chinese Space Agency, mankind is going to explore the far side of the moon for the first time in history.
On January 3rd, Beijing time, China’s Chang’e 4 Lander made history successfully landing on the far side of the moon.
As the lander made its way to the lunar surface, it carried on board various types of plants as well as animals.
They have thus become the first living organisms to travel to the moon’s surface after NASA’s Apollo missions.
The Chang’e 4 lander is a multipurpose laboratory which carries a plethora of different experiments on board.
It is reported that the lander is carrying seeds of potatoes and rockcress, a flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard, but it is also carrying silkworm eggs.
The living organisms have been brought to the surface of the moon, so Chinese scientists can study whether or not plants and organisms can survive in low gravity, and how they will develop.
The idea is simple.
As reported by the Telegraph, Chinese scientists will see the plants support the silkworms with a steady oxygen supply, while the animals will make sure the plants have carbon dioxide and nutrients.
The organisms are kept inside an aluminum cylinder and traveled to the moon with dirt, nutrients, and water. According to experts, sunlight will be filtered into the container through a small tube, giving the organisms all necessary conditions to survive on the moon.
Experts will observe how the plants grow and whether they are able to perform photosynthesis on the moon and grow and bloom under conditions on the lunar surface.
“Our goal is to study the respiration of the seeds and the photosynthesis on the moon,” explained Xie Gengxin, chief designer of the experiment in an interview with Xinhua.
And Chinese scientists will also attempt to grow potatoes on the moon. It turns out that potatoes ( remember the Martian?) could become a major food source in future space travel.
“Why potato and Arabidopsis? Because of the growth period of Arabidopsis is short and convenient to observe. And potato could become a major source of food for future space travelers,” explained Liu Hanlong, from the Chongqing University.
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