For first time ever, plants from Earth are growing on moon. The China National Space Administration showed photos of cotton seeds sprouting into life. The administration said cotton plants were among several plants that were "growing well". Other plants that are now growing on moon are potatoes, rock cress and rapeseed. The plants are part of project on China's space mission to far side of the moon. The project is called "moon surface micro-ecological circle". Project leader Liu Hanlong says cotton seeds were the first to sprout. He said plants were chosen because they were small, strong and could grow in difficult conditions on the moon's surface.
Professor Hanlong said project's aim was to understand more about how plants grow outside of Earth. The long-term aim is to develop plants that can grow on moon or on planets like Mars. The professor said: "We have given consideration to future survival in space. Learning about these plants growing in low-gravity environment would allow us to lay foundation for our future establishment of space base." The project also includes yeast and fruit flies. The professor hopes six organisms in project will make up mini-ecosystem. The plants will produce oxygen and food for fruit flies, and the yeast could manage the flies' waste and dead plants to provide another food source.