Chicom plant experiment on moon fails when temperatures drop to -170 centigrade at sunset
The appearance of a single green leaf hinted at a future in which astronauts would grow their own food in space, potentially setting up residence at outposts on the moon or other planets. Now, barely after it had sprouted, the cotton plant onboard China’s lunar rover has died.Night time on that area of the moon is a long one. It lasts for about two weeks. Apparently, the plant died well before that period. Scientists should not be that surprised. The harsh conditions are one of the reasons it is a barren wasteland.
The plant relied on sunlight at the moon’s surface, but as night arrived at the lunar far side and temperatures plunged as low as -170C, its short life came to an end.
Prof Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University, who led the design of the experiment, said its short lifespan had been anticipated. “Life in the canister would not survive the lunar night,” Xie said.