China reveals plans to 3D print houses on the Moon's surface

16 January, 2019, 22:44 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
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Cotton seeds were the first to sprout after which rapeseed and potato seeds emerged.

A small green shoot is growing on the moon in an out-of-this-world first after a cotton seed germinated on board a Chinese lunar lander, scientists said on Tuesday.

"This has achieved the first biological experiment on the moon of human history, to sprout the first bud on the desolate moon", Xie said in a university blog.

Pictured: This picture released on January 11, 2019 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) via CNS shows the Yutu-2 moon rover, taken by the Chang'e-4 lunar probe on the far side of the moon.

While human beings have grown plants in space before, they've never attempted to grown one on the moon.

"Learning about these plants' growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of a space base", he said.
The CNSA, the Ministry of Education, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the China Association for Science and Technology and other organizations launched a contest among students across China in 2015, collecting ideas on the design of the payloads.

The experiment's chief designer, Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University, told Xinhua that life inside the canister would not survive the lander's first lunar night, which started on Sunday.

The biopsy test load carried cotton, canola, potato, Arabidopsis, yeast and fruit fly.

They began growing when the control centre back on Earth sent a command to the probe telling it to water the seeds. We could probably make some nice sweaters from moon-grown cotton.

The plans have been announced just weeks after the country successfully completed the first touchdown on the far side of the moon.

"It suggests that there might not be insurmountable problems for astronauts in future trying to grow their own crops on the Moon in a controlled environment", he said, adding, "I think there's certainly a great deal of interest in using the Moon as staging post, particularly for flights to Mars, because it's relatively near the Earth". Chang'e 4 is located in the Von Karman crater in the moon's southern hemisphere.



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