China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft wrote history with its capture on the "dark" side of the Moon on January 3rd, and the first images and a video of the process have already been shipped by the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) ).
Apart from this achievement, the Chang'e-4 also records another very interesting first. He carries in his cargo a sealed box containing seeds and they managed to bloom! This is a very small step for the time being, but it is considered to be of the utmost importance to realize the vision of creating a base on the Moon in 2022.
This box includes cotton, potato, turnip and cardamom seeds, along with yeast and fruit bran. Scientists hoped that the last two, as consumers and disintegrators, could consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide, which would then use the plants to photosynthesis and create a small biosphere inside the sealed box on the Moon.
The choice of these species was very cautious, as they are thought to survive in the adverse conditions on the Moon, and the first results are extremely impressive. The cotton seeds flourished, but in less than 24 hours the whole ecosystem collapsed. Organizations will decompose into their box without polluting the Moon's environment.
It may take a while, yet scientists will get valuable data on plant growth in low gravity, intense radiation, and extreme temperature fluctuations.
We recall that such a project was being prepared by NASA from 2023, and we have already seen the ISS astronauts consume "space vegetables" grown in the space station.