Update: 1/17/19 – The plant has died.
China successfully sprouted the first plant on the moon on January 7th, but shortly after the plant had died.
Days ago, China had revealed that a cotton seed had sprouted on a lunar lander becoming the first plant life to be ever grown by a human on another body in our solar system. The experiment housed seeds in a container on the Chang’e 4 probe which became the first successful mission to the far side of the moon on the 3rd of January.
When the probe landed, the experiment was triggered in a self contained biosphere designed to raise seeds and hatch fruit fly eggs. The purpose of the experiment was to find out how a tiny ecosystem would react to a high-radiation, low gravity environment. There were hopes that findings from this study would be able to inform future moon colonists on food cultivation methods.
The plant however died when the power to the unit was cut, as the experiment was ended by professor Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University after nine days. The experiment was ended because the temperatures inside the biosphere were too erratic. Though we have two temperature controlling plates, the temperature was still above 30 degrees Celsius (86 F) around 10.30 a.m. on the moon. As everybody knows, many plants can’t sprout with (that) temperature,” says professor Xie Gengxin.
Professor Xie did not confirm why the temperatures in question had risen, but considers the experiment a success. The experiment was scheduled to last 100 days.