January 18, 2021

The first plant that sprouted on the Moon dies

The first plant that sprouted on the Moon dies

The cotton bud which became the first plant to be born on the hidden side of the Moon has died, due to the beginning of the lunar night, during which temperatures can drop to 170 degrees Celsius below zero. This was reported on Thursday by state television CGTN: the experiment of the Chinese probe Chang'e 4 has concluded and, although photos of the outbreak were published last Tuesday, on Sunday the 13th the ship had already entered into energy saving mode during the aforementioned lunar night (which is equivalent to 14 Earth days). "During the 212.75 hours from on to off, the load worked well. Some of the results exceeded our expectations, "explained the designer of the experiment, Xie Gengxin, quoted by CGTN.

In any case, the scientist pointed out that the main objective of this experiment was "the popularization of science". The mission was born with the objective of performing tasks of astronomical observation of low frequency radio, terrain and relief analysis, detection of mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure, as well as the measurement of neutron radiation and natural atoms for study the environment in this area of ​​the satellite. To do this, it transports a small vehicle that will travel the land to record, document and define the extraterrestrial geology. But of all these tests, perhaps, the most intriguing is the biological: through a mechanized artifact they intend to grow vegetable seeds that will be deposited in a sealed container, an experiment endorsed by 28 Chinese universities and that could open the ban at the birth of the first living beings on the Moon.

In fact, the idea of ​​carrying a biological burden on the Moon was selected from 257 suggestions made in 2016 by university and institute students from the Asian country. The images that were sent by the probe, showed that a bud of cotton had grown well, although no other plants were found. Among the seeds transported by the ship were rapeseed, potato and arabidopsis, as well as fruit fly eggs and some yeasts, to form a simple minibiosphere, according to a team led by scientists from Chongqing University. The plants would generate oxygen and food so that other living beings "consume". The drosophila melanogasters, as consumers, and the yeast, as decomposers, would generate carbon dioxide by consuming oxygen for the photosynthesis of plants. In addition, yeast can break down plant residues and drosophila melanogasters and grow, and it can also serve as food for drosophila melanogasters.

The ANEC explained that the organisms will decompose gradually in the container in which the experiment was carried out and will not cause any damage to the lunar environment. This "trip", named after an Asian legend, is composed of three stages: rotation (Chang'e 1 and Chang'e 2), moon landing (Chang'e 3 and Chang'e 4) and return (Chang'e 5). and Chang'e 6). The current phase allows to study in depth the crater located in the Aitken Basin, formed during a gigantic collision when the satellite was still very young. In it, material could be found that provides new information about its formation. Although this is just the tip of the iceberg of a project that aims to lead a new manned mission to the Moon. At the moment there is no clear date, although some experts already place it in 2036.


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