In the biocontainer the first plants sprouted on the moon
In the center of the frame - the first sprout of cotton. In the nutrient solution biocontainer, the temperature is maintained at about 25 ° C. The
National Space Administration of China has published a photo of a successful biological experiment that the Chang'e-4 vehicle, which is currently working on the far side of the moon, was able to conduct.
The photo shows the shoots of the plant. Chinese scientists say they are cotton sprouts. Cotton seeds sprouted the first of the six crops that Chang'e-4 planted, and later potatoes and rape sprouted.
The Chinese apparatus landed on January 3, 2019, the cargo included a sealed container with the biological material of the so-called “micro-ecological cycle”.
A container with biological material, delivered to the reverse side of the moon. The
container is 18 cm high and 16 cm in diameter in an aluminum alloy housing weighing about 3 kg. Earlier, the Chinese press reported that the manufacture of the container cost more than 10 million yuan (about $ 1.5 million), the built-in camera alone costs 600 thousand yuan (about $ 90 thousand).
The leader of the experiment, Professor Liu Hanlong, said that it was not possible to establish the exact time of the emergence of cotton, and the seeds of rape and potato have sprouted and have been growing well since Saturday.
Ecological system of six organisms
In addition to these, three more organisms have been selected for landing on the surface of the Moon:
- Rezuhovidka (Arabidopsis);
- fruit flies.
In total, the "micro-ecological circle" includes six organisms. In theory, these six organisms should constitute a complete cycle, complementing each other in the ecological system as producers, consumers, and decomposers. Yeast decomposes the corpses of flies and plants, creating an additional source of food for insects.
Professor Liu Hanlong also explained that the survival of organisms would have been impossible without a powerful control system that holds a temperature of 25 ° C in the container. The container is isolated from strong cosmic radiation, for photosynthesis, apparently, lamps are installed in the container, and for germination there is a necessary supply of water with fertilizers (nutrient solution).
Six species are chosen because they are small and able to multiply in a limited space. They are also hardy enough to withstand some extreme conditions on the surface of the moon.
“We are considering the issue of future survival in space. Studying the growth of these plants in low gravity conditions will allow us to lay the foundation for the further creation of a space base, ”said Liu. He explained that potatoes can be the main source of food for space researchers, cotton is suitable for making clothes, and rape can be a source of oil.
It is not entirely clear by what principle the Arabianusis (Arabidopsis) came into the list of six organisms, but this plant has quite beautiful flowers. It is possible that it was included in the "space kit" for aesthetic reasons. Scientists say that if everything goes well, the first flowers on the moon will bloom in about 100 days after disembarkation, that is, around April 15.
As part of the Chang'e-4 experiment, plants were first grown on the surface of the moon under conditions of low gravity and strong cosmic radiation. At the second stage of the experiment, it will be necessary to prove the viability of the microecological cycle, that is, an isolated ecological system.
In addition to biological tests, the Chang'e-4 probe will collect data on the geological structure of the moon, the composition of the lunar soil, and conduct a series of low-frequency radio astronomical observations.
This is not the first experiment in which the effects of radiation and microgravity on plants and animals are studied. Such experiments have been repeatedly carried out on the ISS and even the Moon. For example, in the framework of the Apollo 17 mission, hay bacillus spores, dry seeds, bean buds and a container with marsupial mice, with radiation sensors implanted in their heads, were brought to the satellite surface. After 12.5 days in space, astronauts mothballed mice, and then scientists carefully studied them on Earth.