MOONRAKER

China Successfully Grows First Ever Plants on the Moon

Seeds taken to the moon by China have sprouted, according the country’s National Space Administration, marking the first time any biological matter has been grown on the moon’s surface. The experiment is being seen as a significant step toward long-term space exploration. China’s Chang’e 4 probe became the first to land on and explore the moon’s far side when it touched down on Jan. 3. It was carrying soil containing cotton and potato seeds, yeast, and fruit-fly eggs. The cotton seeds have now grown buds, Chinese media report. State newspaper the People’s Daily tweeted an image of the seed, saying it marked “the completion of humankind’s first biological experiment on the moon.” Prof. Xie Gengxin, the experiment’s chief designer, said: “Learning about these plants’ growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base.”