China's Lunar Lander Chang'e 4 Grows First Plant on Moon (See Pictures)

China's Lunar Lander Chang'e 4 Grows First Plant on Moon (See Pictures)

The mission became the first to touch down on the surface of the far side of the Moon earlier this month.

As it sped through space, Chang'e-4 carried a mini biosphere in a canister - containing "the seeds of cotton, rapeseed, potato, and arabidopsis, as well as eggs of the fruit fly and some yeast", according to the Xinhua news agency.

A cotton seed planted by Chinese scientists on the moon has officially sprouted, marking the first time humans have successfully grown biological matter on a planet other than Earth.

China's ruling Communist Party's official newspaper, the People's Daily tweeted an image of a sprouted cottonseed with the caption "the completion of humankind's first biological experiment on the Moon".

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

Xie Gengxin, chief designer of the biological experiment payload for the Chang'e-4 mission, told CCTV that, "There are animal, plants and microorganisms in this payload, creating a micro-ecosystem in a closed environment". "Learning about these plants' growth in a low gravity environment would allow us to lay foundation for our future establishment of (a) space base".

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So where does the name Super Wolf Blood Moon come from?

"We have given consideration to future survival in space".

There is still a long way to go before a sustainable habitat could be developed on the lunar surface, but the experiments could be fairly considered to have started that project. He said that the cotton and rapeseed were chosen because they could provide the astronauts with the raw material needed to produce clothing and oil. It's likely in the future if all the environmental conditions are met.

Yutu-2, China's lunar rover, leaves wheel marks as it moves away from the lander that touched down on the far side of the Moon.

On Friday, the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) released several images taken by the probe including panoramic images of the landing site as well as video of the vehicles touching down.

Wu also revealed that China will send a probe to Mars around 2020.

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