Chinese Scientist’s Latest Space Project

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Chinese Scientist’s Latest Space Project

Andres Nichols and Wyatt Clark

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Earlier in January, a few Chinese scientists attempted to begin a new space mission. In this mission, a lunar agricultural experiment has begun to see if plants could possibly grow on the moon. With much research gathered, these scientist have already sent out shuttle that is carrying several seeds and other items to help growth.

Using soil originating from Earth, the scientists have managed to germinate cotton seeds, and make them bud. However there were not only just cotton seeds but there were also oilseed rape, potato, Arabidopsis seeds, yeast, and fruit flies. Even though there were many different species of seeds, only the cotton seeds were able to sprout because it could handle the extreme conditions on the moon. The sprouting of the cotton seeds happened due to the help and protection from a container that had a separate machine that provided heat, water, and air to the different seeds. This marks the first time in lunar history that biological life has managed to survive on the moon’s barren surface, however it is not the first time that space agriculture has occurred .

The Twitter account for the Chinese Communist party stated in a post,”First in human history: A cotton seed brought to the moon by China’s Chang’e 4 probe has sprouted, the latest test photo has shown, marking the completion of humankind’s first biological experiment on the moon.”

This lunar mission would help the future by providing a variety of resources to space explorers. These resources would be water, oxygen, and fuel for space shuttles. The moon’s surface has been found to contain a mineral that can be processed into the resources needed for deeper space exploration.

The mission also managed to land in Von Kármán crater, one of the few parts of the moon that does not face Earth year-round. The crater is about one hundred fifteen miles wide, and is a part of the elusive “far-side” of the moon. Chang’e 4 is the first space probe to ever accomplish such a feat, and is proof of the ever increasing ability for humans to explore space. Chang’e 4’s main goal is to bring many plants and animals to the moon’s lonely surface.

Many of the scientist that had started this project predicted that if the mission were successful, it would be proof of a new contender in the lunar colonization space race. But things would soon change especially after relying on solely a computer system. After a little over two hundred hours, the machine that provided heat to the sprouting seed suddenly stopped working. Due to this unexpected problem the sprouted seeds had unfortunately died, after a freezing lunar night with temperatures of negative sixty-two degrees Fahrenheit. This confirmation came from Liu Hanlong, head of the Chang’e 4 experiment, who had said,”The temperature inside the 1-liter-capacity canister had reached minus 52 degrees Celsius [minus 62 degrees Fahrenheit] and the experiment had ended.”

Despite the unexpected failure of the project, these Chinese scientist will come back to the moon even more prepared than before to not only accomplish the goal but to also make sure that the chance of unexpected failure is much lower. They could even sent a human up there to the moon to help keep failures at a minimum. Chinese space official had said,”The dead plants will rot after day breaks over Von Kármán late this month. But the canister is an enclosed system, so the decaying material will not leak onto the lunar surface.” So no plant zombies will sprout from the moon’s surface, which is nice to know. However once the project succeeds, the future of space exploration with drastically change.

 

Sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/china-grows-plants-moon-first-time-ever-ncna958816

https://www.thedailybeast.com/china-successfully-grows-first-ever-plants-on-the-moon

https://earthsky.org/space/plants-seeds-sprout-die-moon-change4

https://gbtimes.com/where-on-the-far-side-of-the-moon-will-the-change-4-lunar-spacecraft-land

https://bgr.com/2019/01/23/china-moon-plants-change-4-mission/

https://modernfarmer.com/2019/01/china-says-it-has-sprouted-plants-on-the-moon/

https://www.space.com/43025-china-moon-mission-plants-dead.html

 

 

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