China's moon cotton experiment ends in freezing lunar night
A cotton seedling that sprouted on the moon has been left to die as China's historic lunar lander continues a freezing night-time nap that will last as long as two earth weeks, scientists said.
The Chinese space agency announced earlier this week that the seed had germinated inside a special canister aboard the Chang'e-4 probe, after the spacecraft on January 3 made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon.
The mini biosphere -- which operated for over 212 hours -- was shut down as planned on Saturday, said Chongqing University, which designed the experiment.
The lander also carried potato and arabidopsis seeds -- a plant of the mustard family -- as well as fruit fly eggs and yeast.
Temperatures inside the ecosystem were expected to plunge below minus 52 degrees Celsius (minus 61.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and the organisms will be "in a frozen state", the university said in a statement on Tuesday.
The experiment ended hours before Chang'e-4 entered "sleep mode" on Sunday as the first lunar night fell since the probe's landing. Temperatures plummet to about minus 170 degrees Celsius (minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit).
A lunar night lasts for about two earth weeks, after which the probe is expected to wake up, the statement said.
"Life in the canister would not survive the lunar night," Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment, told the official Xinhua news agency.
Once the temperatures start to rise next month, the organisms will be allowed to "slowly decompose" in the permanently sealed canister.
Chang'e-4 is also equipped with instruments developed by scientists from Sweden, Germany and China to study the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and the interaction between solar wind and the moon's surface.
The lander released a rover, dubbed Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit), that will perform experiments in the Von Karman Crater.
China's space agency said it is planning four more lunar missions, confirming the launch of a probe by the end of the year to bring back samples from the moon.
Beijing wants to establish a lunar research base one day, possibly using 3D printing technology to build facilities, the agency said Monday.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46895.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
John17 hours ago
Using 3D printing technology to establish a lunar base is actually a really good idea.
HenryJ19 hours ago
What most of you missed is that terraforming the Moon is impossible, and this experiment was designed to establish a basic set of parameters that could potentially support life on the moon via biosphere.
Milo19 hours ago
After reading a few comments, maybe people will be interested if the moon can grow weed .
Dave K18 hours ago
If they used a dandelion seed, it would probably survive.
Steve18 hours ago
I don't understand why this is so amazing. You have a sealed heated can with water and a chunk of earth's atmosphere. Other than gravity what in that environment is any different than sprouting a seed here on earth?
Attila18 hours ago
...fifty years ago United States' technology sent men to the moon and brought them back.
Congratulations to the Chinese on their achievement.
Leigh19 hours ago
Ok, so the whole experiment was designed to see if the cotton seed would bloom but not to continue growth into a full cotton plant. Seems like kind of a let down. :(
Chris21 hours ago
Whos going to the moon to pick cotton?
asdasd s20 hours ago
Just great ... now the Moon has Fruit Fly's!!!
Paul15 hours ago
Well, d'uh! So, the next experiment should be mosses and lichens from Antarctica. There is plant life on this planet that has adjusted to harsh frigid temperatures.
Jack Tawney19 hours ago
Like most Chinese goods, they didn’t last very long, but the price was cheap.
Matt5 hours ago
-170 Celsius. If that equipment operates without any issues after being exposed to -170 Celsius, China passed a technological step that can build permanent base on moon and other planets..
No Name9 hours ago
A lunar night lasts for about two earth weeks, ..... the statement said.
I thought it was the DARK side of the moon - shouldn't it be night all the time?
Marv19 hours ago
Meanwhile we are back on COAL POWER hahaha
Bruno Kirby20 hours ago
Is there any proof they actually landed on the Moon? I mean other than them claiming it
Anonymous20 hours ago
well they should have used space station insulation.
RobertoD19 hours ago
I was expecting death from radiation, but freezing!?
Dano16 hours ago
It's so cold that there isn't any molecular movement what so ever on the moon. It would seem that everyone knows that.
ceyhun c20 hours ago
They've done with the earth now starting to pollute the moon.
Mark20 hours ago
Need a ban on fruit from the moon now.
D P14 hours ago
Good start, got to peel layer by layer of the onion of unknowns. NASA has done many experiments in space already but refused to share information freely. Interestingly this motivated China to get its own data, but instead of data hoarding it shares data with the world.
Moody4 hours ago
It would be interesting if the plants will suddenly come back to live which is possible after adjusting to a new environment!!
Ghost and The Darkness7 hours ago
What was the point?
laughing14 hours ago
yea their real goal is military base
Russell19 hours ago
OOPS---------China forgot to make the Green House freeze proof, I guess they will think of that on the next mission
Uptown17 hours ago
-200+ degrees doesn't support Earth life.
Barry20 hours ago
And the United States money is being used to do this . The more we buy Chinese goods the more money they have to invest in their military and such.
Abby19 hours ago
I think, technically, they colonized the moon though.