Just one day after revealing its Chang’e-4 lander had successfully started growing plants on the moon in a first-ever milestone China now says its lunar cotton seedling is as good as dead.
Chinese scientists involved in the mission have also revealed that the US is planning its own mission to the far side of the moon – and they’ve asked to borrow a Chinese craft to help get there.
According to South China Morning Post NASA recently asked China to extend the lifespan of the Queqiao relay satellite so it could be used to plan a US lunar landing.
‘We asked the Americans why they wanted our relay satellite to operate longer’ chief scientist Wu Weiren told state broadcaster CCTV.
The mission took a variety of seeds to the moon as part of its biosphere experiment and this marks the first time ever that biological material has been cultivated on the lunar surface.
Other biological matter on the Chang'e-4 mission includes cotton oilseed rape potato Arabidopsis yeast and fruit flies.
Though more plants were initially expected to sprout in the next 100 days the program appears to have ended.
Developing the ability to grow plants in space is an important step towards successful long duration space flight to Mars and beyond.
The picture emerged after being released has come from Chongqing University and was published on the university's Weibo account.
It read: 'After experimenting under the moon's high vacuum large temperature difference strong radiation and harsh conditions mankind has grown the first plant sprout realising man's first moon-based biological growth experiment'.
The studies on these pioneering plants are being done in a specially designed biosphere on the Chang'e-4 lander and not on the mobile rover Yutu-2.
It has greater temperature regulation and insulation which protects its experiments from the extreme temperatures on the moon.
A lack of atmosphere means the UV rays from the sun reach the surface of the moon unfiltered and unabated.
Temperatures fluctuate between highs of 127°C (261°F) and frigid lows of -173°C (-279°F).
月球温度在127°C (261°F) 的高温文-173°C (-279°F)的极寒之间动摇。
The seeds and eggs are kept in a small cylindrical tin and are expected to grow inside the 0.8L container.
Professor Christopher Conselice a professor of astrophysics at the University of Nottingham told MailOnline: 'China is doing experiments with seeds and worms to see how things form in space and there is relatively little information on this.
'That's a new ares of space exploration which we can learn about which was impossible before Chang'e-4.'
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You don't learn if you don't try.
I guess the plant didn't cotton to lunar conditions.
You've got to admire their honesty
Still that is the purpose of scientific experimentation. Better we to lose one plant than to ship and plan on large scale crops without it.
It died... Who'd've thought it...?!
No different conditions? It's an experiment to test variables of gravity light and temperature. Conditions which are not the same as in the Space Lab. Maybe you should go back to your moonshine.
The gravity was more earth like on the lunar surface than in space the light similar and the temperature controlled. Only the dramatic backdrop was different. As to moonshine... yes I do like that suggestion.
Other than having no sunlight water or CO2 and possibly being too cold what else could go wrong?
Zina. Engage your brain. Have you never looked at a full moon a new moon or its various phases of waxing and waning? It is so so obvious that a lunar day is the same length as a month and that all parts get equal sunshine over a full month. How could you possibly not know that and be capable of typing? Incredible.
Sorry guys - it's pot noodle again tonight
Not too bright these Chinese scientists.
Stu The Reader
You do better?
this is cruelty to cotton sprouts. next time you go to the moon please take all the politicians and see how long they last.
Next time try growing weed...
Well they already knew that the plant was not going to survive the lunar night. Would be better if they had brought different sets to test different variables.
Why oh why?