China and NASA shared data about historic moon landing

China and NASA shared data about historic moon landing

China and NASA shared data about historic moon landing

Riding on its success of landing a rover on the far side of the Moon earlier in January, China's space agency is planning to launch another mission to the Moon by the end of 2019 and a mission to Mars as early as 2020, the media reported.

The biosphere was also equipped with water, soil, air, two small cameras and a heat control system, said Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University, the experiment's lead designer.

"Experts are still discussing and verifying the feasibility of subsequent projects, but it's confirmed that there will be another three missions after Chang'e 5", Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), said at the press briefing.

China Daily tweeted: "The latest test photo shows a cotton seed brought to the moon by China's Chang'e 4 probe has sprouted". China's self-contained miniature biosphere includes seeds for plants like cotton, potatoes, rapeseed, and yeast, along with fruit fly eggs. If harvesting in space using locally available water becomes a reality, then astronauts can survive in space for longer duration without requiring supplies from Earth.

When its Chang'e 4 spacecraft touched down on the lunar surface it was carrying a £1m airtight container designed for growing crops in shocking conditions. Cotton seeds were the first to sprout after which rapeseed and potato seeds emerged.

The Chang'e 4 is also the first vehicle to land on the far-side of the moon.

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Chang'e 5 will lay the groundwork for further probes to be sent to the moon's south pole and possibly to return samples from the far side of the moon, Wu said.

While human beings have grown plants in space before, they've never attempted to grown one on the moon. While on Earth, we've become accustomed to the benefits provided by our planet's natural biosphere - things like humidity, sunlight levels, water levels, etc. work in ways that are hard to reproduce in a completely controlled environment like a spacecraft.

For years, crew members aboard the International Space Station have been tending to a "space garden", a chamber that has grown lettuce, radishes and other foods.

A series of moves by China is likely to fuel competition with the USA in lunar exploration.

As for why they chose these plants specifically for the lunar experiment, Liu explained that this is part of their long-term goal of eventually building a base on the Moon.

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