China grew a plant on the moon, and data shows that it grew two leaves…..

China was the first country to land a spaceship on the moon’s far side. As part of its mission, the Chang’e-4 lunar rover carried a small biosphere with six living things, including cotton seeds. Researchers made a virtual simulation of the cotton plant using data from the biosphere experiment. The simulation showed that the plant grew two leaves before it died from the cold.

China made history when its Chang’e-4 spacecraft touched down on the far side of the moon. The mission was also the first to try growing plants on the moon, and it brought a small ecosystem called the Lunar Micro Ecosystem to the moon’s surface (LME). Conditions in this small, cylinder-shaped biosphere were similar to those on Earth, except for microgravity and cosmic radiation. The following were in the LME:

potato seeds

young cotton plants



fruit fly eggs

Arabidopsis thaliana is a well-known weed.

All of these plants died quickly, except for cotton. A recent 3D reconstruction shows that the cotton plant grew two leaves before it died from the cold after about two weeks. The results show that the experiment worked a bit better than expected.

The leader of the experiment, Xie Gengxin of the Advanced Technology Research Institute at Chongqing University, has no plans to write any scientific articles about this research. He does, however, plan to keep looking into how different kinds of life could live on the moon.


If NASA or other space agencies want to do long-term missions, they need to figure out how to take care of plants in space all the time.

“Simply packing some multi-vitamins will not be enough to keep astronauts healthy as they explore deep space,” NASA wrote. “They will need fresh produce.”

Why? Some reasons are just about how things work. For example, the nutrients in supplements and ready-made meals can break down over time. Radiation may speed up this process. Growing fresh vegetables would give astronauts more nutrients and make their food taste better. If astronauts could grow plants in space, they wouldn’t have to bring as much food that has already been cooked.

But growing plants in space can help people feel better about themselves.

“We already know from our pioneering astronauts that fresh flowers and gardens on the International Space Station create a beautiful atmosphere and let us take a little piece of Earth with us on our journeys,” NASA wrote. “They’re good for our psychological well-being on Earth and in space.”

NASA also wants to make it more fun for astronauts to eat while they are in space. For example, on recent trips, the agency made comfort food and holiday dinners. It also did research on whether astronauts prefer to eat alone or with a group and whether cooking their own food is better for them. Other researchers are looking into how astronauts’ emotional needs might be met by the food they eat in space, as well as how to fix problems in the room like not being able to smell.

“At the end of the day, we’re not worried about the muscle cells,” NASA nutritionist Scott Smith told Eater. “We’re worried about the human.”

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