Update on Chang’e-4 plant experiments

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Link here. It appears the plant experiment has now run its course, designed as it was to end before the arrival of the first lunar night.

The experiment’s chief designer, Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University, told Xinhua that life inside the canister would not survive the lander’s first lunar night, which started on Sunday. The moon’s nighttime period lasts for about two Earth weeks.

It also appears that though the plant experiment included potato, cotton, and oilseed rape, only the cotton seeds spouted. China has only released a limited amount of information about this research, so to get further details we will likely have to wait for the published papers.



  • Andrew _W

    S couple of typos in there Mr Zimmerman.

  • Gary

    Seed sprouting is relatively trivial compared to normal growth for plants subjected to low gravity conditions. Sprouting depends on moisture and temperature for seeds biochemically ready to start growing. Gravity is the factor that orients the direction roots and stems point. I wondered how the specimens would be kept alive during the long lunar night. Now we know this experiment was the tiniest of baby steps.

  • Andrew_W: Fixed. Thank you!

  • Chris

    As per The Martian does this mean China has colonized the moon?

  • Edward

    Watney’s “In your face, Neil Armstrong” moment said that once you grow crops, you are a colonist. Unfortunately for China, these are not crops, just test plants. Otherwise we would have already colonized low Earth orbit.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeNn86dAOM0 (1/4 minute)

    Come to think of it, I recall that some astronauts on the ISS ate lettuce that they grew. Crops? ISS as colony?

  • One day we will colonize Mars

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