Yet, it seems China National Space Administration's probe Chang'e 4 had a special mission upon touch down. The cotton seeds were the first to sprout according to Professor Liu Hanlong, the head of the experiment. It is for the first time, a mission is sent to the dark side of the moon by a country. It has now achieved another first: having a seed successfully germinate while on the moon.
Scientists from Chongqing University, who designed the "mini lunar biosphere" experiment, sent an 18cm bucket-like container holding air, water and soil.
Chang'e 4 is also equipped with instruments developed by scientists from Sweden, Germany and China to study the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and the interaction between solar wind and the moon's surface.
The seeds only began growing once ground control singled to the probe to begin hydrating them and the cotton seed became the first-ever lunar sprout (plants have been grown on board the ISS, of course). - China will seek to establish an global lunar base one day, possibly using 3D printing technology to build facilities, the Chinese space agency said on January 14, weeks after landing the rover on the moon's far side. For example, potatoes serve as a good source and can make rapeseed oil which is similar to canola oil.
The moon Sunday night will be the first in a series of three full supermoons, which is when a full or new moon is at or near its closest approach to earth in its orbit, or perigee, according to EarthSky.
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China's successful lunar germination suggests "there might not be insurmountable problems for astronauts in future trying to grow their own crops on the moon in a controlled environment", Fred Watson, an astronomer-at-large with Australian Astronomical Observatory, told the BBC.
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.
In fact, the success of China's experiment has prompted space and worldwide affairs analysts muse that the nation's foray into lunar exploration could catalyze a new space race of sorts!
Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the national space agency, speaks during a press conference held in Beijing, China, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.
While making announcement over the same on Tuesday, January 15, Chinese researchers released images from a probe that showed a tiny plant growing in a small pot inside the spacecraft located hundreds of thousands of kilometres away from our planet.