China seems to be evolving in space competition. A group of Chinese scientists developed an experiment to test the sustainability of life on the moon, a concept that has been perpetuating our imagination for half a century. It seems that we are closer to not being a dream, but a reality, even though it is unlikely that a breakthrough will take place soon.
The team developed an experiment that would make it possible to sustain life in the long term moon. As the Independent reports report, Liu Hanlong, one of the group's leading scientists, said, "We have considered future survival in space. If we know about the growth of these plants in a low-weight environment, we can lay the groundwork for the future construction of a space base.
In addition, the experiment could be the first step towards growing food on longer space journeys that can continuously explore future missions without returning to Earth
In January, the Chinese Chang'e-4 lander landed on the moon and planted a cotton plant there. The seed was stored in an airtight, earth-filled canister and supplied with air and water, all the necessary ingredients for the plant to sprout.
In addition to cotton, potatoes, rapeseed, Arabidopsis flowers, yeast and fruit fly eggs were included in the experiment. The container was conceived as a mini-ecosystem – a small garden that would provide the most important ingredients for life on the moon.
The rapeseed is used for oil, cotton for the production of clothing and potatoes food. The Chongqing University website explains, "The plants would produce oxygen and food for other living things to" consume "them. The Drosophila melanogaster as a consumer and the yeast as a decomposer would produce carbon dioxide by consuming oxygen for the photosynthesis of plants. In addition, the yeast can decompose and grow the waste of plants and Drosophila melanogaster and can also serve as food for Drosophila melanogaster. This circle forms a mini-biosphere of producers, consumers and decomposers. "
The mini biosphere was monitored by two cameras and contained a thermal control system. It also contained a tube that redirected the light reflected from the lunar surface so the plant could grow.
The cottonseeds sprouted very fast and made headlines as the first plant that was successful in space, with the exception of the Flora board of the ISS. However, in contrast to the cotton seedlings in the Chinese lander, the ISS has relatively controlled conditions.
The message was a dream that lived up to all people committed to space exploration. This not only meant that life on the moon could possibly be sustained, but also offered the opportunity to colonize Mars without relying on the resources of the earth for survival.
But soon afterwards the plant withered away. The problem was the moon climate. When the moonlit night lasted two weeks, temperatures dropped to -170 ° C.
It does not help that the temperature reaches 120 ° C during the lunar days. Both the low and the high do not allow life to sustain itself as we know it on earth.
Although the young cotton plant unfortunately did not survive the harsh climate, this was a huge breakthrough in science. The legacy will continue, and scientists will plan further experiments with improved conditions.
The main task of Chang'e-4 is to gather atmospheric information from the other side of the moon and relay it to headquarters in China. The Mini-Biosphere was a competition that won the University's project.
Read another story from us: The Earth has two more hidden "moons" made entirely of dust
However, Chang's e-5 will soon be launched to receive samples from the mini-biosphere Collect the Moon's surface and bring it back to Earth. Similar missions did not exist since the 1970s. The ambitious Chinese space program is definitely worth following, as many surprises lie ahead.