The breakthrough is a massive leap towards sustainable deep space colonization.
Image: The moon lander Chang'e 4. Eastern time, and at that time, the Earth's shadow will begin to pass in front of the moon, blocking nearly all of the sun's light from reaching it, Walter Freeman, an assistant teaching professor in the Physics Department at Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement.
Charles Cockell, a professor of astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, told Newsweek that the latest achievement is "very significant" because it shows a proof of concept for growing plants on the moon. It could mean that humans could potentially be sustainable in space without needing resupplies from Earth. The germination of those cotton seeds mark the very first seeds to germinate on the moon's far side.
The idea is that the plants produce oxygen and food for the fruit flies. The yeast is used to decompose plant material and provide the files with other food sources.
"With this circle, a mini biosphere comprising producers, consumers and decomposers is formed", they said.
As the BBC reports, one of the experiments China sent to the moon is a biosphere, which consists of a sealed 18-by-16cm container offering an Earth-like environment.
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The pioneering landing highlights China's ambitions to rival the US, Russia and Europe in space through manned flights and the planned construction of a permanent space station.
"Learning about these plants' growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base", Liu Hanlong, the scientist leading the experiment, told the South China Morning Post.
Image: China's lunar rover Jade Rabbit 2.
One of the near-term highlights is the Chang'e 5 sample-return mission, which China aims to launch before the end of the year.
"Experts are still discussing and verifying the feasibility of subsequent projects, but it's confirmed that there will be another three missions after Chang'e-5", Wu said at a news briefing organized by the State Council Information Office.
According to Wu, the Chang'e 6 mission will be created to bring samples back from the moon's south polar region. "For example, can we build houses on the moon with lunar soil using 3D printing technology?"