China's Moon mission sees first seeds sprout

Pablo Tucker
January 17, 2019

China's miniature biosphere experiment has yielded sprouting cotton seeds, and they are the first plants to germinate on the Moon - an important first step in creating a viable, self-sustaining lunar colony.

The China National Space Administration held a press conference on Monday in Beijing where the agency outlined its future plans.

It is the first time a soft landing has been performed on the Moon's far side - also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown - due to challenges relaying signals.

China is also building its own space station, called Tiangong or Heavenly Palace, which is expected to be operational in 2022.

On 3 January, China made history when it landed the first spacecraft on the far side of the Moon. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless.

Image: China's lunar rover Jade Rabbit 2.

In fact, the success of China's experiment has prompted space and global affairs analysts muse that the nation's foray into lunar exploration could catalyze a new space race of sorts!

Meanwhile, China also said it has shared data with NASA about the Chang'e-4 lunar mission.

First is exploring the topography of the landing area and carrying out a geological profile of the far side. "And we could not simulate the lunar environment, such as microgravity and cosmic radiation, on Earth". And the third is the study of the material composition of the lunar landscape.

The total lunar eclipse taking place Saturday night will be the first one theoretically visible in its entirety across the United States since 2010, according to, and the last until May of 2021.

That claim could not be immediately substantiated, but it could raise eyebrows on Capitol Hill because NASA and the Chinese agency are prohibited from cooperating without congressional approval, the report said.

"I'm incredibly optimistic. I just think cooler heads will prevail", Bolden told China Daily. It is expected to begin its operations in 2022, however, the space agency is still deciding whether to send astronauts to the moon.

'From the panorama, we can see the probe is surrounded by lots of small craters, which was really thrilling, ' said Li Chunlai, deputy director of the National Astronomical Observatories of China and commander-in-chief of the ground application system of Chang'e-4.

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