Space fans who have been following the Chinese Chang’e 4 mission might have thought they knew everything about the mission at this point. Some don’t know that the lander had a payload of six organisms on board to test out on the lunar far side. Among those organisms aboard the lander are seeds that could be the foundation for human settlement.
The seeds include cotton, rapeseed, and potatoes. Reports from China indicate that the cotton seeds have germinated while the lander is parked on the far side of the moon. The germination of those cotton seeds mark the very first seeds to germinate on the moon’s far side.
When the spacecraft landed on the moon January 3, it had an airtight container inside that carried bioscience test loads with one of them called the “moon surface micro-ecological circle.” The cotton seeds were the first to sprout according to Professor Liu Hanlong, the head of the experiment.
The complete list of six organisms chosen to go to the moon includes cotton, rapeseed, potato, rock cress, yeast, and fruit flies. The container with all the organisms is equipped with a control system that keeps the inside at 25C.
The six organisms were chosen because they act as producers, consumers, and decomposers. The plants produced oxygen and food that are used to sustain the fruit flies. The yeast is used to decompose plant material and provide the files with other food sources. Cotton could be used for clothing, rapeseed for oil, and the potatoes a source of food. China shared video of the Chang’e 4 landing on the moon this week.