China was the first country to demonstrate agriculture on the moon after it’s Chang’e 4 lander sowed cotton seeds. However the cotton seeds withered and died after the temperature dropped as low as – 170ºC.
The moon does not have an atmosphere like earth to buffer the temperature. Chinese University professors had already warned of the short lifespan of the plant on the moon.
Astronauts have grown plants in the International Space Station (ISS) in the past, but this Chinese experiment was the first time to be conducted on the Earth’s natural satellite, the Moon.
It was a challenge for the Chinese scientists to set up the earth like biosphere for the plant to grow. The probe carries Potato seeds, rapeseeds and fruityfly eggs in a sealed canister.
Scientists hoped that the seeds would grow and form a micro-ecosystem in which the plants would provide oxygen to the fruit flies, which would then produce the carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis to take place.