China lunar lander grows cotton plant on the moon

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RESTRICTIONS: Broadcast: NO USE JAPAN, NO USE TAIWAN Digital: NO USE JAPAN, NO USE TAIWAN
China successfully grew a plant on the moon in a biological first.

On January 3, China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe made a milestone soft-landing on the far side of the moon. CNN reports that the spacecraft carried a self-contained biosphere called the Lunar Micro Ecosystem, or LME, that was activated upon landing.

A cotton seed inside the biosphere sprouted two leaves, making it the first living thing humans have grown on the moon.

According to China's state-run Science and Technology Daily, the 2.6-kilogram LME cylinder measured 20 centimeters in length and 17 centimeters in diameter.

Apart from cotton, it carried potato and arabidopsis seeds, fruit fly eggs, and yeast. These were all kept in Earth-like conditions except for microgravity and lunar radiation.

Xie said the LME experienced erratic temperature fluctuations, forcing scientists to terminate the experiment and shut down the power.

The shutdown left the seeds and eggs unprotected in the lunar night, when temperatures dropped to a low of minus 190 degrees Celsius, according to the China Daily.

IEEE Spectrum reports the cotton leaves were dead within one lunar daytime, or 14.5 Earth days.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Cotton seed on Chang'e-4 sprouted two leaves
2. Seeds on the Lunar Micro Ecosystem
3. Cotton plant dying after LME project termination
4. Tortoise originally intended for the mission, but wasn't sent

VOICEOVER (in English):
"On January 3, China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe landed on the moon carrying seeds and other life."

"IEEE Spectrum reports that Chinese scientists, utilizing image processing and analysis, created a 3D reconstruction that showed a cotton seed sprouting two leaves."

"Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University told IEEE Spectrum that Chinese scientists initially believed the seed grew only one leaf."

"The seed was the first living thing humans have grown on the moon."

"The spacecraft carried the biological payload in the Lunar Micro Ecosystem, or LME."

"Chongqing University's Liu Han-long told China's state-ran Science and Technology Daily that the LME cylinder weighed 2.6 kilogram and was 20 centimeter in length and 17 centimeter in diameter."

"According to Science and Technology Daily, Liu said the LME carried seeds of cotton, potato and thale cress, fruit fly eggs and yeast."

"Xie Gengxin told CNN that Chinese scientists had hoped the LME would raise seeds and hatch flies to create a stable biosphere to inform food production on the moon."

"Xie told CNN that the LME experienced erratic temperature fluctuations, forcing scientists to terminate the experiment and shut down the power."

"The shutdown left the seeds and eggs unprotected in the lunar night, when temperatures dropped to a low of minus 190 degrees Celsius, according to the China Daily."

"IEEE Spectrum reports that the cotton seed was dead within one lunar night, or 14.5 Earth days."

"Xie told IEEE Spectrum that the team had wanted to put a small tortoise in the LME to research the effects of the moon's low gravity on animals. But the oxygen inside the craft would have been usable to tortoises for only 20 days."

SOURCES: IEEE Spectrum, Science and Technology Daily, CNN, China Daily https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/robotic-exploration/china-grew-these-leaves-on-the-moon
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/15/asia/china-moon-cotton-intl/index.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/17/asia/china-moon-seed-dead-intl/index.html
http://www.stdaily.com/index/kejixinwen/2019-01/16/content_746973.shtml
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201901/31/WS5c52b8eaa3106c65c34e797d.html