Images sent by the probe showed that a cotton sprout had started to grow, though no other plants were found growing.
Officials from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said that the forthcoming Chang'e-5 mission will be launched before the end of the year, and will bring Moon rock samples back to Earth. The cotton seeds were the first to sprout according to Professor Liu Hanlong, the head of the experiment. Through it, the researchers hope to learn more about how plants develop in the low gravity, high radiation and wildly fluctuating temperatures of the lunar environment.
The plants are in a sealed container on board the lander. The environment on the moon, 380,000 kilometers from Earth, is more complex. Incidentally, the Chang'e 4 lander first touched down on the far side of the Moon earlier this month, an impressive achievement in and of itself.
The seeds began growing once they received water from the probe via a command from a ground control centre. The "lunar mini biosphere" experiment was selected from more than 250 submissions.
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As reported by Xinhua, Sun Zezhou, the chief designer of the Chang'e 4 probe from CAST, said the probe will get first-hand data by directly measuring the temperatures of the lunar soil, the probe's surface and its key interior equipment during the lunar night. The plants release oxygen and provide food for the fruit flies, while the yeast converts the oxygen into carbon dioxide for the plants, among other processes.
The country has also said that it will welcome scientists and astronauts from around the world to make use of its space station, which is slated for completion by 2022. By having a supply base on the moon, space travel to Mars and beyond could become easier.
To the Australian Astronomical Association astronomer-at-large, Fred Watson, the development was "good news", reports the BBC. It's likely in the future if all the environmental conditions are met.
Seeds taken up to the Moon by China's Chang'e-4 mission have sprouted, says China National Space Administration.
Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the CNSA, said China is willing to work with the global community to push forward the frontiers of space exploration on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, peaceful use and inclusive development.
Finally, the Chang'e-8 mission will test technologies and do "some preliminary exploration for countries to jointly build a lunar research base in the future", Wu said.