China has succeeded in raising cotton on the dark side of the Moon. This experiment was part of the country’s current Chang’e 4 project. Plants have been grown on the International Space Station before, but in this experiment, a plant was grown on the Moon for the first time. A cotton seed in the spacecraft had sprouted in January this year.
Among the spacecraft’s payload is a 2.6-kg mini-biosphere called the Lunar Micro Ecosystem (LME).
The LME carried six life forms—cotton seeds, potato seeds, rape seeds, yeast, fruit fly eggs and Arabidopsis thaliana, a common hardy weed—kept in mostly Earth-like conditions except for micro-gravity and lunar radiation.
Cotton germinated in the soil artificially kept at 1-atmosphere pressure and controlled the temperature. Only the cotton seeds produced positive results, according to scientific media reports.
The leader of the project, Xie Gengxin, is from the Advanced Technology Research Institute at Chongqing University.