Technology & Science

Plants sprout on moon for 1st time as part of Chinese space mission

Cotton seeds carried by China's Chang'e-4 moon probe have become the first biological matter to grow on the moon.

Experiment lays foundation for lunar base and long-term space exploration, Chinese scientist says

Cotton seeds carried by China's Chang'e-4 moon probe sprout on the far side of the moon, as shown in Jan. 7 photo released Tuesday by the country's National Space Administration. (Chongqing University)

Cotton seeds carried by China's Chang'e-4 moon probe have become the first biological matter to grow on the moon.

A photograph taken on Jan. 7 and released on Tuesday by China's National Space Administration showed the seeds sprouting on the far side of the moon. 

The experiment lays the foundation for a lunar base and long-term space exploration, according to the chief designer of the Chang'e-4 probe's biological experiment payload.

The Chang'e-4 lunar probe landed on Jan. 3 and transmitted the first-ever "close range" image of the far side of the moon.

The administration applauded the launch as a first that "lifted the mysterious veil" of the far side of the moon and claimed it as a major achievement for the country's ambitious space program.

Chang'e-4's tasks include astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and mineral makeup, and measuring neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of the moon's far side.

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