There Are Plants and Animals on the Moon Now (Because of China)
China's Chang'e-4 lander touched down on the far side of the moon (Jan. 3 Beijing time, Jan. 2 US), and it's got some living things on board.
A small "tin" in the lander contains seeds of potatoes and rockcress (Arabidopsis thaliana, a flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard, as well as a model organism for plant biology), as well as silkworm eggs. The idea, according to a report in The Telegraph earlier this year, is that the plants will support the silkworms with oxygen, and the silkworms will in turn provide the plants with necessary carbon dioxide and nutrients through their waste. The researchers will watch the plants carefully to see whether the plants successfully perform photosynthesis, and grow and bloom in the lunar environment.
"We want to study the respiration of the seeds and the photosynthesis on the moon," Xie Gengxin, chief designer of the experiment, told Xinhua, a Chinese state-run news agency. [See Spectacular Lunar Mission Images in 3D (Photos)]
The "biosphere" experiment was the product of a collaboration between 28 Chinese universities, led by southwest China's Chongqing University, according to Xinhua. The experiment, which is tucked inside a 1.4-pint (0.8 liters) aluminum alloy cylinder, weighs about 7 lbs. (3 kilograms) and includes dirt, nutrients and water. Sunlight will filter into the container through a "tube," and small cameras will watch the little environment. That data will beam back to Earth by means of the complicated relay system China has set up to communicate with an experiment that has no direct line of sight to Earth.
"Why potato and Arabidopsis? Because the growth period of Arabidopsis is short and convenient to observe. And potato could become a major source of food for future space travelers," said Liu Hanlong, chief director of the experiment and vice president of Chongqing University, as reported by Xinhua. "Our experiment might help accumulate knowledge for building a lunar base and long-term residence on the moon."
Rockcress has been grown in space before, including in one experiment on the International Space Station that showed the plants' leaves appearing to rise and fall as they detected the moon's gravity. But whether the flowering plant will flourish in the environment of the far side of the moon remains an open question.
For now, though, this means that there's life in at least one other place in the solar system (even if it's only because we put it there).
译文来源：幸运飞艇 /46822.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
China launched a satellite that circles around the Moon before they landed their lander. So, yes, they Can Communicate with it from Earth.
How the small tin will keep warm during the very freezing nights?
It's about time.America landed men there nearly half a century ago.
Richard9 hours ago
China is investing in space age technology. Trump wants a wall.
Great potatoes and weeds sent to the moon....next a gardener.
True One14 hours ago
"Our experiment might help accumulate knowledge for building a lunar base and long-term residence on the moon." Figures. Just as I said before, they are way ahead of us in their thought process. They will have the first moon base. We will be pie in the skying about Mars. We are so stupid. I'm sure our disclaimer later will be "We underestimated their potential to build a successful moon base". We'll see.
That is all good. Congratulations China.
Anthony5 hours ago
Isn’t it was made of cheese?
randall9 hours ago
It should be interesting to see how plants handle the cold- but more importantly, if they can live in the radiation that gets through their protective cylinder! Radiation is the big threat to space travel...then lack of gravity (which plants seem okay with).
NASA goes through great pains decontaminating and sterilizing any object (several times and with several agar tests on each piece) they send to other solar bodies so as not to introduce any life form which could contaminate other planets and interfere with future experiments. I hope China does the same.
I ate a moon pie for lunch today.
There were actual men on the moon 50 years ago (because of the USA)
Since the moon has 16.6% of the gravity of Earth, it will be interesting to see if any of the organisms survive long term and even mutate. Since you can't simulate less gravity on Earth. I know we all have the data on 0 gravity as we have been doing these experiments long ago.
That's actually pretty cool
Stacia21 hours ago
You can say what you want, but it sounds like a very cool experiment and something that would give first step info for a self sustaining moon base. Looks like a new challenge for a race to the moon.
member of NO MA'AMyesterday
- Seems like a nice experiment. Maybe it comes to something. Maybe not. Let's hang back and wait for some results.
Human Lab Ratyesterday
Interesting experiment to see if photosynthesis will work on the moon.
China started Moon season, Israel, India will join Lunar Club soon on this year, Russia next year. Only US doesn't have money for Lunar exploration, no money even to build a Wall on the own border on Earth.
Hey.....is PETA ok with this?
No worries, it was made in China. After the 90 day warranty period it will stop working.
Human Lab Ratyesterday
Chinese "Moon Cake" is spiking in sales.
Question??/ Before we get all excited about this. I would like to know how they are communicating with the lander? To my knowledge there are no satellites in orbit around the moon. Have they developed a new way of sending a radio signal??
I'm honestly relieved I didn't see "puppies" on that list
First they copied their space program logo from Star Trek, now they copying the food growing process from the movie The Martian with the potato growing as a major food source and so on.
Are Chinese capable of ideas or do they always copy other's work?
Yan19 hours ago
Daniel2 days ago
Why all the great things nowadays are made in China?
Who waters the plants?
Bill19 hours ago
Neat idea can't wait to see how this experiment plays out.
editors note: i'm pretty certain silkworm eggs would be insects, not animals.
kingsley23 hours ago
Will the land is enough to support 1.3 billion Chinese on the moon?
zola22 hours ago
Militarization of the moon not far off unfortunately.
Semper Fi5 hours ago
One fatal flaw is that plants and living organism need sunlight to live. They brought to a wrong side of the moon.