A cotton seedling that sprouted on the moon has been left to die as China’s historic lunar lander continues a freezing night-time nap that will last as long as two earth weeks, scientists said.
The Chinese space agency announced earlier this week that the seed had germinated inside a special canister aboard the Chang’e-4 probe, after the spacecraft on January 3 made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon.
The mini biosphere -which operated for over 212 hours- was shut down as planned on Saturday, said Chongqing University, which designed the experiment.
The lander also carried potato and arabidopsis seeds -a plant of the mustard family – as well as fruit fly eggs and yeast.
Temperatures inside the ecosystem were expected to plunge below minus 52 degrees Celsius (minus 61.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and the organisms will be “in a frozen state”, the university said in a statement on Tuesday.
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