China's Moon mission sees first seeds spring into life

Published: January 16, 2019
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Cotton sprouts seen close-up under a protective cover on board the Moon lander.
PHOTO: CLEP

Cotton sprouts seen close-up under a protective cover on board the Moon lander. PHOTO: CLEP

BEIJING: A photograph released on Tuesday by China’s National Space Administration showed seeds, carried by China’s Chang’e-4 moon probe, sprouting on the far side of the moon.

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The cottonseed sprouts became the first biological matter to grow on the moon and according to the probe’s biological experiment payload’s chief designer, was laying the foundation for a lunar base and long-term space exploration.

The Chang’e-4 lunar probe landed on January 3 and transmitted the first-ever “close range” image of the far side of the moon. China’s National Space Administration applauded the launch as a first that “lifted the mysterious veil” of the far side of the moon and claimed it as a major achievement for the country’s ambitious space program.

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The tasks of the Chang’e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon’s terrain and mineral makeup and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side.

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