Photo Credit: David Dibert

China is poised to take an astrobotany first- growing plants on the dark side of the moon.

The Chang’e-4 spacecraft recently made headlines for being the first spacecraft to land on the “dark side of the moon”, and now we’re making it a headline here on astrobotany.com, because it’s carrying some very, very important cargo.  

The Chang’e-4 is hauling a sweet lootbox: a small crate called the Lunar Micro Ecosystem that is holding silkworm eggs, nutrients, water, Arabidopsis thaliana, potato seeds and tomato seeds.  The aluminum container is a miniature biology experiment, and scientists hope it will show how much lunar conditions affect this closed ecosystem. Since the experiment is completely sealed up, the main stressor the plants and silkworms will have to contend with is lunar gravity: 17 percent of Earth’s.

28 Chinese universities designed this amazing astrobotany experiment- and they’re hoping that if the silkworm eggs hatch they can establish a state of biological equilibrium with the plants.

Here at astrobotany.com, we wish nothing but the best for the small greenhouse on the moon.