Published: Sat, January 19, 2019
Sci-tech | By April Francis

China Already Planning Next Moon Mission This Year, Mars In 2020

China Already Planning Next Moon Mission This Year, Mars In 2020

The experiment's chief designer, Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University, told Xinhua that life inside the canister would not survive the lander's first lunar night, which started on Sunday.

Earlier, space travelers grew plants on the International Space Station (ISS) and China's Tiangong-2 space lab in low Earth orbit (400 Km above the Earth) but the moon was a much more challenging environment to grow plants which was also hard to simulate on the Earth.

Pictures sent back January 12 showed plant shoots growing well nine days after the experiment was initiated, Chongqing University, which led the biological project, said in a briefing Tuesday.

A cotton seed carried to the Moon by China's recent Chang'e-4 probe has sprouted, the first for any biological matter to grow on the Moon, the media reported on Tuesday. Inside you'll find soil, yeast, fruit fly and silkworm eggs, as well as cotton, potato, tomato, and (flowering) thale cress seeds.

With the success of the cotton underway, China plans to continue its plans for further space exploration The goal of the next moon probe will be to bring samples of the moon back to Earth. The greatest challenge according to Chinese scientists is the constant weather changes on the moon. In the coming months, Chang'e 4 will continue to carry out scientific observations across the less understood side of the moon.

Cotton, rapeseed, and potato seedlings have all sprouted inside a canister aboard China's Chang'e-4 lunar lander, now parked on the far side of the moon.

Chang'e 5 will lay the groundwork for further probes to be sent to the moon's south pole and possibly to return samples from the far side of the moon, Wu said.

The breakthrough is seen as key to future space missions, as the ability to grow plants could be key to longer-term missions such as journeys to Mars. That would help China "avoid some of the mistakes that were made with building the International Space Station", he said in the China Daily story.

Video taken from the Chang'e-4 probe shows its view as it hovered over Earth's rocky neighbor before quickly dropping toward its surface.

Another objective of the mission was to test whether plants could grow in a low-gravity environment, a test which appears to have already yielded results. All countries are welcome to participate in China's follow-up lunar exploration and deep space exploration projects, he said.

Like this: