Cotton sprouts are the first plant to grow on the moon, Chinese space officials say

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
China’s Lunar Lander Sprouts Cotton on the Moon

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

China may have grown the first-ever plant on the moon, as cotton seeds on a Chinese lunar probe have sprouted.

>> Read more trending news

The sprouts can be seen in photos released Tuesday by the China National Space Administration.

"This (mission) has achieved the first biological experiment on the moon of human history, to sprout the first bud on the desolate moon. And with time moving on, it'll be the first plant with green leaves on the moon," said Xie Gengxin, dean of Institute of Advanced Technology at Chongqing University, and the chief designer of the experiment, CNN reported.

While humans have grown plants in space before, no one has tried to grow plants on the moon, according to CNN.

China’s Chang’e 4 lunar probe made headlines earlier this month when it became the first to land on the far side of the moon Jan. 3.

Chang’e 4 is intended to accomplish a range of tasks, including conducting the first lunar low-frequency radio astronomy experiment and exploring whether there is water at the moon's poles, CNN reported.

The mission took several seeds to the moon as part of its biosphere experiment, meant to show how life develops in low gravity and strong radiation environments. In addition to cotton, Chang'e 4 brought oilseed rape, potato, Arabidopsis, yeast and fruit flies, The Guardian reported. More plants are expected to sprout in the next 100 days, CNSA said.