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The green shoots are the first time any biological matter has been grown on the moon.

The China National Space Administration released a photo Tuesday showing that cotton seeds brought to the far side of the moon by the country's Chang'e 4 lander had germinated, the South China Morning Post reports.

The ruling Communist Party's official mouthpiece the People's Daily tweeted an image of the sprouted seed, saying it marked "the completion of humankind's first biological experiment on the Moon".

As it sped through space, Chang'e-4 carried a mini biosphere in a canister - containing "the seeds of cotton, rapeseed, potato, and arabidopsis, as well as eggs of the fruit fly and some yeast", according to the Xinhua news agency. With the ability to grow edible plants, astronauts could grow and harvest their own food, enabling long-term habitation. They're now growing in a sealed container on the lander where they'll try to form a mini biosphere.

The tiny plant is sheltered from temperatures as low as -100C inside the Yutu 2 spacecraft.

NASA says, 'Viewers in North and South America, as well as those in western parts of Europe and Africa, will be able to watch one of the sky's most dazzling shows on January 20, 2019, when the Sun, Earth and Moon align at 9:12 p.m. PST (12:12 a.m. EST), creating a total lunar eclipse'.

The far side of the Moon, which humans know much less about than the side that faces the Earth, is often mistakenly called the "dark" side, though it is not actually deprived of light.

"Learning about these plants' growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of [a] space base".

The Chang'e 4 is also the first vehicle to land on the far-side of the moon.

The space agency is already looking ahead to its next lunar mission, Chang'e 5, which is created to collect lunar samples and bring them back to Earth. For example, potatoes serve as a good source and can make rapeseed oil which is similar to canola oil.

The China National Space Administration is working to send a probe to the Red Planet, said Wu Yanhua, deputy chief of the agency.

The plans underscore China's ambitions in space at a time when the United States is curtailing NASA's budget and increasingly handing over space exploration to commercial adventurers, the Washington Post reported on Monday.


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