Is the Moon an inhospitable hostess?
On January 2, the Chinese landing device Chang'e-4 made a good landing on the far side of the moon. But the news does not end there, because there are several living creatures on board!
On the planting machine there is a small container with seeds of potatoes and cress, as well as silkworm eggs. The idea is that the plants will support the silkworms with oxygen, and the latter will provide the vegetation with the necessary carbon dioxide and nutrients as waste.
Scientists will closely monitor plants to see how well they perform photosynthesis, grow and flourish in the lunar environment. The “biosphere” experiment was the result of the collaboration of 28 Chinese universities. Capacity reaches 0.8 liters in volume and weighs 3 kg. Made of aluminum alloy. Inside there are also dirt, nutrients and water. Sunlight will penetrate the tube, and small cameras monitor the environment. This information will be broadcast back to Earth using a sophisticated relay system. Why exactly these plants? Watercress is suitable because of the short period of growth, and the potato should be the basis of food for future space travelers. The experiment will help collect valuable data for growing vegetables in future lunar bases.
Watercress was already grown on the ISS, showing that the leaves rose and fell under the influence of the gravity of the moon. But can they grow on the dark side of the moon? This is to be verified by scientists in the experiment.