Does extraterrestrial life exist? Can living things even survive on another world? These are questions that have been asked for a long time and continue to be asked today. China tried to address the latter recently by experimenting with cotton seeds along with 6 other organisms, including potato seeds and fruit fly eggs, on their Chang’e 4 lander. The seeds were placed in a protective environment designed to keep them alive and shield them from the extreme conditions on the moon. When the seeds started to sprout, many were ecstatic. However, not even two weeks later the plants fell victim to the frigid temperatures present in the immediate lunar environment.
One day on the moon lasts approximately 29.5 days on Earth, so both day and night on the moon take place for about 2 weeks on Earth. This is why the plants could not survive for more than 2 weeks. Solar power was used for the experiment, and when the sunlight ran out after nighttime began there was no way to power the resources needed to sustain the plants. Even though there was no definite conclusion reached, it’s interesting to see some sort of proof that living things can potentially be transported, with the right biological and supportive resources, to another world and survive (even if for a short amount of time). Nonetheless, the rapid sprouting of the seeds definitely provided noticeable results that will be studied more. Updates about the lander’s findings will be posted on China Xinhua News’ twitter if you want to know more! Also check out SpaceTV for more news and some live streams regarding the Chang’e 4 lander.