Several seeds were sent to Moon in a sealed container in the spacecraft Chang’e-4. It’s an artificial, self-sustaining environment.The first green leaf comes from cotton seeds, from many others in the experiment: oilseed rape, potato and arabidopsis, as well as eggs of the fruit fly and some yeast. No other plant was found growing. Images sent back by the probe showed that a cotton sprout had grown well. It’s the first any biological matter to grow on the Moon.
Cotton plant in the lunar probe (Chinese experiment)
The lunar mini biosphere experiment on the lander is designed to test photosynthesis and respiration. The ability to grow plants on the Moon will be integral for long-term space missions. Astronauts could potentially harvest their own food in space, reducing the need to come back down to Earth to re-supply. After becoming the first country in the world to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, China is planning four more missions to get samples back before studying the feasibility of a lunar research base. China plans to launch the Chang’e-5 probe to the moon later this year and three more later. At least two of them will land on the moon’s south pole and conduct research.