China to grow potatoes and silkworms on the Moon!
China will send a mini-ecosystem comprising potato seeds and silkworm eggs to the Moon in 2018.
Chang'e 4, scheduled for a 2018 launch, will carry the three-kilogram mini-ecosystem developed by Chongqing University-led research teams.
At the Global Space Exploration Conference, authorities announced it is an attempt to study the organisms' development on the lunar surface.
Read more about the Chinese mini-ecosystem!
19 Jun 2017: China to grow potatoes and silkworms on the Moon!
Details: Seeds and eggs to be carried inside a cylinder
The potato seeds and silkworm eggs to be incubated will be carried inside an 18x16-centimeter cylinder.
Reportedly, the seeds of Arabidopsis, a plant used in microbiology and genetic research, will also be sent.
According to Zhang Yuanxun, who designed the mini-ecosystem, the goal of the project is to determine whether the insects can survive and seeds can grow on the Moon.
Mars : Experiment: A major step towards Mars colonization too
The ecosystem is designed in such a way that the insects inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide while the plants absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen.
The purpose is to see how long the ecosystem lasts on the Moon.
It would be a major step towards lunar settlements and self-sustainable colonies on Mars where settlers live by recycling water and air.
Ideas: Project stood out from 257 experimental ideas
The project stood out from as many as 257 experimental ideas put forward for the Chinese lunar exploration mission.
However, the experiment faces two major challenges - maintaining proper temperature and energy supply.
A temperature between one and 30 degrees Celsius is ideal for organisms to survive but the temperature on the Moon is between -170 and 140 degrees Celsius.
Manned mission: China's manned mission to the Moon
Professor Xie Gengxin, the project's Head Designer, said their mission is to get ready for the future lunar landings and possible human inhabitants.
The development of insects and plants will be livestreamed on the Internet to the whole world, so that scientists and interested parties can also witness the experiment.
China has already begun the preliminary preparations for the lunar landing.
Fact: China planning the manned mission
China's first astronaut and China Manned Space Agency's Deputy Director General, Yang Liwei, stated it wouldn't take long to get official approval and funding for the project. Scientists and researchers from 28 Chinese universities are working on hardware required to conduct various tests.