Recently, China's Chang'e-4 moon probe, landed on the far side of the moon planted cotton seeds. Those seeds are now the first to have sprouted on Earth's natural satellite.
A photograph was released by China's National Space Administration this week—but was taken on Jan. 7, 2019—shows the seeds starting off in the growing cycle. This was done by having system water the seedlings, which around the time of a week, led to a green shoot being seen.
This is technically part of the Chang'e-4 probe's duties which include astronomical observation, mineral makeup, surveying the terrain, measuring neutron radiation as well as neutral atoms. All this allows is for the study of the environment of the far side of the moon, which has been called mysterious in the past.
One of the goals of this particular experiment was to see if plants could grow in a low gravity environment, which according to the images, is a possibility. Cotton isn't the only thing that the scientists are trying to grow. According to CNN, they're going after seeds from rapeseed, potato, and mouse-ear cress. They're even trying to hatch fruit fly eggs.
According to CBC, the chief designer of Chang'e-4 probe's biological experiment payload mentioned that this could be a stepping stone for a future lunar base. The individual isn't wrong either, it's not easy living in an environment like the moon and it's certainly not easy growing agricultural produce there, so, if that produce can be grown on site, it'll lower the cost of such a plan and even have the capabilities of providing a sustainable method of living for the inhabitants.
Despite all of this, it isn't the first time that a plant was grown in space, it's simply the first occasion that it's happened on the moon. In fact, they've been growing them in space for a fair while. In October 2017, astronaut Joe Acaba harvested Mizuna mustard, Waldmann’s green lettuce and Outredgeous Red Romaine lettuce.
This can be as a good step for everyone and it doesn't seem like it'll be the last for China as they basically have their eyes set on Mars for around 2020. Whatever the case may be, it's clear that this is a stepping stone for science and it won't be last, especially considering the goals of NASA and China's National Space Administration.