Can China plant vegetables on the moon? Soil samples returned by Chang’e 5 spark online discussions

Photos: China Space News

Can China plant vegetables on the moon? What can we plant? The questions sparked heated online discussions over the weekend after Chang’e 5 returned to Earth on Thursday with 1,731 grams of samples from the moon.

But science might have let them down. “Unlike the organic soil on earth, the moon’s soil does not contain organic nutrients and is very dry, which is not suitable for growing vegetables or potatoes,” said Zhu Guangquan, a CCTV anchor, of one on Sina published video Weibo report on CCTV on Saturday, citing scientists.

Chinese internet users were very interested in growing vegetables on the moon. The subject of “lunar soil really can’t grow vegetables” has won more than 63.3 million views from Sina Weibo and has been discussed more than 17,000 times at the time of going to press.

There were more than 8,100 comments under the video. “The Chinese really stick to the idea of ​​growing vegetables throughout history,” joked a Sina Weibo user @ Siberian-shuaihe.

Another Weibo user commented: “Yuan Longping’s eyes have lit up: there is no place where rice cannot grow!” Yuan, a world-renowned agronomist known for developing the first hybrid rice varieties, is known as the “father of hybrid rice”.

Although the soil on the moon cannot grow vegetables, it can be used in other ways. The long-term solar wind injected a large amount of helium-3 into the lunar soil, which, according to the video released by CCTV, can be used as clean energy and electricity generation through nuclear fusion.

The Chinese Space Agency (CNSA) held a lunar sample handover ceremony in Beijing on Saturday morning, at which the sample was handed over to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The lunar samples will be divided into three parts for different purposes, said CNSA deputy head Wu Yanhua. Scientific research labs will be preserved, while the other two will be exhibited in national public education museums and shared with the international community in accordance with lunar data management regulations. They could even be given as special gifts to countries that work closely with China on aerospace issues.

One Weibo user also boldly assumed, “If we can’t grow vegetables on the moon, how about we go to Mars and get a soil sample from there to study?”

China launched the country’s first Mars probe, code-named Tianwen-1, on July 23. According to CNSA’s update last week, China has traveled 370 million kilometers and is more than 100 million kilometers from Earth.

Chinese Navy soldiers have successfully grown vegetables in the sand on Yongxing Island in the Xisha Islands of the South China Sea. In addition, the Chinese scientific expedition team has also grown vegetables in Antarctica.

Global times

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