China to collect samples from moon this year

Pat Wise
January 16, 2019

Cotton seeds were the first to sprout after which rapeseed and potato seeds emerged.

They will need the ability to grow their own food, and this Moon experiment suggests they'll be able to with the right equipment.

Global discussions about sending humans to the Moon and Mars have brought many challenges waiting to be solved, and among them is food supply.

They hope Chang'e 5 will be launched this year tasked with bringing the first moon samples back to earth since the 1970s.

A first ever sprout of cotton seeds on the far side of the moon.

On Jan. 3, China became the first country to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon.

"This (mission) has achieved the first biological experiment on the moon of human history, to sprout the first bud on the desolate moon".

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Cotton seeds have reportedly just sprouted in an experiment aboard China's Chang'e 4 Moon lander.

"Learning about these plants' growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of [a] space base".

Scientists from Chongqing University - who designed the "mini lunar biosphere" experiment - sent an 18-centimetre bucket-like container holding air, water and soil.

The space agency is already looking ahead to its next lunar mission, Chang'e 5, which is created to collect lunar samples and bring them back to Earth. Cotton could be used for clothing, rapeseed for oil, and the potatoes a source of food.

Pictures released by the China National Space Administration released pictures showing a rocky surface with the jagged edge of craters in the background, posing a challenge for controllers in plotting the rover's travels, the official Xinhua News Agency said. China has big ambitions of becoming a comparable top-tier space power with plans to send a crewed mission to the moon (the last one came in 1972) and to establish a research base there someday.

"In the past, we were always rushing to catch up to the advanced global standards" in space, said Wu Weiren, the chief designer of China's lunar exploration project.

China has made space exploration a top priority in recent years, as it races to catch up with Russian Federation and the U.S. and become a major space power by 2030.

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