China claims to have sprout rice seeds on the moon

Madrid

Updated:12/31/2020 05: 27h

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That China is one of the space powers of the moment is a fact: it is preparing its own space station, it was the first to land a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, and the first lunar soil samples collected almost half a century ago have just returned. . But in the capsule there was more material: orchid seeds, alfalfa, oats and rice. And the latter have managed to germinate during their stay on our satellite, as reported by the Chinese lunar research program (CLEP), which has shown the buds.

After 22 days of mission, the ship Chang’e 5 achieved its primary goal of bringing back lunar soil samples for the first time in 43 years and a first for China. Although there were also seeds in a special container on board the probe, the first aerospace culture obtained by China and that was recovered with the remains of rocks in the past. December 17. “The deployment of the mutagenesis experiment in deep space is an important milestone to improve crops,” says CLEP.

After being exposed to cosmic radiation already zero gravity, Some seeds can mutate and produce higher yields and better quality when planted back on Earth, according to Chinese scientists. However, at the moment it cannot be predicted if these grains will end up mutating or the way in which they will, and we will have to wait for their cultivation and subsequent research.

Other attempts at “moon gardening”

It is not the first time that China has managed to germinate seeds on the Moon. The previous mission, the Chang’e 4, transported rapeseed grains, arabidopsis, yeasts and even fruit fly eggs. None prospered except one cottonseed, which began to grow within the “space garden” inside the ship. However, a few days later the Chinese space agency reported that the plant had not managed to survive the lunar night.

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This experiment was different from the one carried out by Chang’e 5: Chang’e 4 landed on the Moon on January 3, 2019 and is still there, so it was subjected to inclement “weather” for longer. lunar, in which the temperatures can vary between 130 degrees positive and 170 degrees below zero. Furthermore, since there is no atmosphere, the radiation is very high. However, the Chang’e 5 mission was in space for about three weeks and only one of them was on the lunar surface, in addition to the fact that the already germinated seeds will be planted on terrestrial soil after being recovered.

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