It’s official, cotton seeds carried by China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander have been captured sprouting, marking the first instance of biological matter growing on the moon. Chongqing University’s Liu Hanlong, a professor who led the research, stated that rapeseed and potato seeds had also germinated, but the cotton seeds were the first to sprout.”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,” said the People’s Daily, China. Read more for a video and additional information.
This isn’t the first instance ever of plants being grown in space, as zinnias and leaf vegetables have been cultivated aboard the International Space Station, just the first occurrence on the moon (that we know of).
“The breakthrough could pave the way for more biological life to be grown on the moon within a contained environment. Liu said that the potatoes could be used as the main source of food for space explorers, while the cotton could be used to make clothing and the rapeseed could be used to produce oil,” reports CNBC.