Plants grown on Moon
Even in those extreme atmospheric and climatic conditions cotton seeds were sprouted on the surface of moon. Do you know how did it happen? Let’s explore more below how does it happen and who did it worked?
In January 2019, China landed its spacecraft named Chang’e 4 Moon lander. This is the first time that any spacecraft landed on the surface of the far side of the Moon. This spacecraft carried different scientific instruments. Along with those instruments, It carried a closed container which contained soil and various plants such as cotton plant, arabidopsis, and potato seeds. It was the first time that any biological substances have been cultivated or grown on the surface of the Moon. Inside the container air, water, nutrients, and temperature is maintained which lets those plants grow well.
Atmosphere of the Moon
There is a fragile layer of gases on Moon surfaces however that can also be termed as the atmosphere. Different elements, such as argon-40, helium-4, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide are detected in the lunar atmosphere. Temperatures on the Moon are extreme i.e negative –173℃ at night to positive +212℃ at sunlight. Daytime on one side of the Moon is around 13 and a half days and followed by 13 and a half nights of darkness. Because of the conditions plants has a lot difficulties to be grown on the surface of the moon. But with special arrangements China has experimented to grow few plants over moon.
Mini biosphere experiment
The Change’s 4 spacecraft had a specialized container for carrying cotton, potato, tomato and arabidopsis thaliana seeds including fly eggs so as to make a eco system inside the vessel.
The plants were not directly planted on the moon’s surface. These seeds were grown inside these specialized containers.
This container is 18 cm tall bucket also known as mini biospheres, because they came with their soil, water, air, and nutrients. These mini hemispheres also controlled inner humidity and temperature suitable for the plants to grow properly. They protected these plants from external factors on the moon’s surface.
There are many varieties of the plants found on Earth, each have their unique properties and significance towards what nutritional value it can give to a human body. Some of them have so many benefits, you wonder if they are real also being quite attractive to look at. So to the main question, why Potatoes and Tomatoes? Well, today we’ll be looking at each plant – discuss why it makes them special to grow them not only on planet Earth but to the point they are chosen to be planted on the Moon and why you should also be grown in your home at your own expense of time.
Cotton seeds are the first ever seeds sprouted on the surface of moon. Below is the image of the cotton seeds sprouts inside the specialized vessel.
CREDIT: CHONGQING UNIVERSITY / AFP)
Cotton seeds are the seeds of cotton plants that are ovoid in shape.
It is one of the world’s leading agricultural crops which is relatively easiest to grow under any circumstances.
Cotton plants grow well in warm climates (above 13-15℃ ). These plants also don’t rely on external agents for pollination, they can pollinate themselves. They can also be planted indoors in a container or outdoors, don’t need much watering, and only need around 3-4 hours of sunlight; compared to other plants, they don’t need much care and maintenance at all.
Potatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow under any type of climatic conditions, weather temperature or anywhere.
According to Almanac.com’s guide on growing potatoes the potatoes have hardiness of 7 i.e potato plants can withstand the minimum temperature of 10℉ to 50℉ ( -6.7℃ to -1.1℃), so you can even plant them in the colder regions.
These features of potatoes make it ideal to plant them anywhere, in fact the whole country of the USA is suitable for growing potatoes without a doubt.
If you are planning to grow potatoes, the best conditions to grow potatoes are dry and cool temperatures.
Make sure to find a place that receives the most amount of sunlight because potatoes prosper in sunlight.
Potatoes grow underground, so they naturally grow better in loose soil.
Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow under any circumstances. Generally, the tomato growth rate is high so it doesn’t take too long to mature. Tomatoes also can withstand and thrive in low and high temperatures.
They are found to be smaller in size due to which it can be cultivated easily. Yield rates of Tomatoes are also found to be higher due to which large masses of edible fruit or vegetables can grow per unit area. This plant grows well in reduced light and a wide variety of soil.
Arabidopsis thaliana or commonly known as mouse-ear cress is a small flowering plant. The reason why researchers decide to plant this is because the plant is effective for learning the biology of many varieties of plants. They can be also used for studying the development process of how the flowers develop. So, the plant functions as a basis or a model for studying similar types of plants.
Cotton seeds succeeded other plants in germinating on the moon’s surface. They became the first plants to ever grow on the surface of the moon.
However, they didn’t survive for long as the plant died just after 6 days. According to the official reports, lower temperatures on the moon were the main reason why the plant could not survive any longer. As for the potato and Arabidopsis Thaliana they have yet to see any progress.
As the expedition never ends we are very hopeful in near future humans will be able to grow plants on the surface of moon with special conditions maintained. As maintaining green house people has grown wide range of plants in extreme places of earth in same way humans will be able to make the breakthrough very soon on the surface of Moon and even planet Mars.