Our neighboring Asian country China has taken a giant leap by successfully launching Chang’e-4 mission. Now, taking a step forward China National Space Administration (CNSA) had released a photo where cotton seeds can be seen sprouting on the Moon.

As a part of its biosphere experiment, the mission took different kinds of seeds to the moon and this marks the first time ever that biological material has been cultivated on the moon’s surface.

Other biological matter on the Chang’e-4 mission includes cotton, oilseed rape, potato, Arabidopsis, yeast and fruit flies.

The Chinese agency claims that more plants are expected to sprout in the next 100 days.

Developing the ability to grow plants in space is an important step towards successful long-duration space flight to Mars and beyond.

The photo emerged after being released has come from Chongqing University and was published on the university’s Weibo account.

It read: ‘After experimenting under the moon’s high vacuum, large temperature difference, strong radiation, and harsh conditions, mankind has grown the first plant sprout, realizing man’s first moon-based biological growth experiment’.

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF CHINESE SPACE EXPLORATION?
Officials from the Chinese space agency have said the country will return to the moon by the end of 2019 with the Chang’e-5 mission.

This will collect rocks from the near side of the moon and return them to Earth for further study.

Chang’e-6 will be the first mission to explore the south pole of the moon.

Chang’e-7 will study the land surface, composition, space environment in a comprehensive mission, it was claimed, while Chang’e-8 will focus on technical surface analysis.

China is also reportedly working on building a lunar base using 3D printing technology.

Mission number eight will likely lay the groundwork for this as it strives to verify the technology earmarked for the project and if it is viable as a scientific base.

China’s space agency the China National Space Administration (CNSA) also say they want to travel to Mars by 2020.

A TIMELINE OF HOW CHINA REACHED THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON

Chang’e-4 launched from the Xichang satellite launch centre in Sichuan, south-west China at 6:30 GMT on December 7
Chang’e-4 launched from the Xichang satellite launch centre in Sichuan, south-west China at 6:30 GMT on December 7

October 24 2007 – China launches Chang’e-1, an unmanned satellite, into space where it remains operational for more than a year.

October 1 2010 – China launches Chang’e-2. This was part of the first phase of the Chinese moon programme. It was in a 100-km-high lunar orbit to gather data for the upcoming Chang’e-3 mission.

September 29, 2011 – China launched Tiangong 1.

September 15 2013 – A second space lab, Tiangong 2, is launched.

December 1 2013 – Chang’e-3 launched.

December 14 2013 – Chang’e-3, a 2,600 lb (1,200 kg) lunar probe landed on the near side of the moon successfully. It became the first object to soft-land on the Moon since Luna 24 in 1976.

April 1 2018 – Tiangong-1 crashed into Earth at 17,000 mph and lands in the ocean off the coast if Tahiti.

May 20 2018 – China launched a relay satellite named Queqiao which is stationed in operational orbit about 40,000 miles beyond the moon. This is designed to enable Chang’e-4 to communicate wit engineers back on Earth.

The Chang’e-4 lunar rover is lifted into space from the Xichang launch centre in Xichang in China’s southwestern Sichuan province on December 7 +8
The Chang’e-4 lunar rover is lifted into space from the Xichang launch centre in Xichang in China’s southwestern Sichuan province on December 7

December 7 2018 – Chinese space agency announces it has launched the Chang’e-4 probe into space.

December 12 2018 – Retrorockets on the probe fired to stabilise the spacecraft and slow it down.

December 31 2018 – The probe prepared for the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon.

Estimated for 2020 – Tiangong 3,a follow-up mission to the Tiangong-2

Before 2033 – China plans for its first uncrewed Mars exploration program.

2040 – 2060 – The Asian superpower is planning a crewed mission to Mars.

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