For the first time, plants from Earth are growing on the moon. China's space agency showed photos of cotton seeds sprouting into life. It said they were among several plants that were growing. The other plants include potatoes, rock cress and rapeseed. It is part of a Chinese project to the far side of the moon. The project is called a "moon surface micro-ecological circle". Project leader Liu Hanlong says the cotton was the first to sprout. He said he chose the plants because they were small, strong and could grow in the difficult conditions on the moon's surface.
Professor Hanlong said the aim was to understand how plants grow in space and to develop plants that can grow on the moon or in space. The professor said the team is looking at the future survival in space. Learning about these plants growing could allow us to lay the foundation for starting a space base. The project also includes yeast and fruit flies in creating a mini-ecosystem. The plants will produce oxygen and food for the fruit flies; the yeast could change the flies' waste and the dead plants into another kind of food source.