Perhaps you might’ve heard about this recently, and the fact that you see some green there might not be as fun, but it’s important that you understand that the green patch is an important step when it comes to space exploration. China’s Chang’e-4 mission has come to the Moon with cotton seeds, and this is the first time plants have grown on the surface of the Moon. Of course, they’re not in direct contact with the surface of the Moon. The seeds (and not only cotton, but also yeast, potato and fruit fly eggs) are put inside a sealed biosphere that’s also self-sustained, that provides the necessary weather and nourishment for them to grow.
It’s a long road to conquer
Let’s not celebrate just yet, there are many other things to prove. China still has to show that the plants are able to grow and that the varying temperatures and the lower gravity will not end them. They might need to take into account some dramatic changes to preserve the biosphere’s conditions and they have to keep the interior relatively consistent.
Why is this such a huge deal?
Even if we’re talking about this challenges, this actually represents a huge deal: it really suggests, in fact, that astronauts will be able to grow plants while they’re on their missions and they can use them for food, oil and many other resources. This means that they could also lighten the cargo for long-term missions to the Moon (and why not Mars?) and it would make the stay possible even after the initial supplies run low. Of course, we cannot talk about extraterrestrial farms just yet, but at least we have this for now, which is enough.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.