Just nine days after China announced that the cotton seeds inside a special container on their lunar lander had sprouted, the scientists were forced to remotely shut down power and end the experiment, CNN reported.
When the Chinese Chang’e 4 probe landed on the far side of the moon on Jan. 3, it carried a receptacle with dirt, nutrients, silkworm eggs, and the seeds of cotton, rapeseed, potato, and rockcress plants. Scientists hoped to create a tiny living ecosystem to test how plant life would react to the moon’s high-radiation, low-gravity environment. The experiment was an early step toward cultivating food on the lunar surface for future colonization of the moon, but it failed when temperatures inside the container became too hot to nurture life. —J.B.