The Chinese Chang & e-4 brought plants and animals for his journey in the "dark side" of the moon.

On January 2, the Chinese spacecraft landed on the far side of the moon and began its exploration of the part of the moon that the man can not see from the Earth. However, he was not alone as he was carrying living things to introduce into the lunar environment. In Chang-e-4, there is a small "box" that contains potato and watercress seeds (Arabidopsis thaliana, a flowering plant related to mustard and cabbage). It also has a model organism for plant biology and silkworm eggs.

Xie Gengxin, chief designer of the experiment, revealed that she was hoping to find out if the plants could successfully effect photosynthesis, growth and flowering in the Moon's environment. according to The telegraphthey used these plants and silkworms because they will supply oxygen to silkworms, while silkworms will produce carbon dioxide and nutrients through their waste.

"We want to study seed respiration and photosynthesis on the moon," said Xie. Xinhua Chinese press briefing.

Liu Hanlong, senior director of experience and vice president of Chongqing University (southwestern China), also explained why they had chosen to use potatoes and watercress for their "biosphere" experience.

"Why the potato and Arabidopsis? Because the growing period of Arabidopsis is short and easy to observe.And the potato could become a major source of food for future space travelers" Liu said. "Our experience could help accumulate knowledge for building a lunar base and a long-term residence on the moon."

from the bottom up Silkworms have been introduced into the lunar environment. Pictured: An Indian man presents a variety of silkworms at an exhibition of hand crafts in Chennai, August 1, 2017. Silkworms are grown in cocoons before their yarn is turned into silk. silk for use in the textile trade in India. Photo: Getty Images / Arun Sankar

It would not be the first time rockcress was introduced in an environment other than terrestrial. It was previously used in an international space station experience this showed that the leaves of the plants seemed to go up and down when they detected the gravity of the moon. However, it remains to be seen if the plant will actually grow in the farthest part of the moon.

According to Xinhua, this experiment is being conducted by Chongqing University, which has collaborated with 27 other Chinese universities. Nestled in a 1.4-liter aluminum alloy cylinder (0.8 liter), the "biosphere" experiment consists of dirt, water and nutrients, which in fact a weight of about 3 kilograms. In terms of how it works, sunlight will filter through the container through a "tube" and small cameras have been installed inside to observe the environment and collect data.

Since the experiment has no direct visibility on Earth, scientists will not be able to observe what is happening in real time. Nevertheless, the data will always be returned with the help of a complicated relay system.