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Cotton sprouts seen close-up under a protective cover on board the Moon lander.

Xie said the cotton could eventually be used to make clothing, the potatoes could feed astronauts, and the rapeseed could produce oil, the South China Morning Post reported.

The People's Daily, the official state media for China's ruling Communist Party, tweeted a picture of the experiment, and claimed it is "humankind's first biological experiment on the Moon".

The Chang'e 4 is the first mission to land on and explore the Moon's far side, facing away from Earth.

With an annual space budget of $8 billion, second only to the U.S., China is also looking to send a probe to the red planet by the end of this decade and build its own space station by 2022.

The Chang'e-4 probe, which landed on the "dark" or far side of the Moon on January 3, is housing an airtight container designed for growing plants and crops in shocking conditions.

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This plant growth could support future long-term space exploration and habitation.

Xie said the experiment would allow scientists to learn how plants can grow in the "low gravity, strong radiation and natural lighting conditions of the Moon", according to the university. China's space agency says it worked with NASA to collect data from the far side of the moon. Yeast could play a role in regulating carbon dioxide and oxygen in the mini biosphere, and the fruit fly would be a consumer of the photosynthesis process.

The space agency is already looking ahead to its next lunar mission, Chang'e 5, which is created to collect lunar samples and bring them back to Earth. Once on the Moon's far side, ground control commanded the lander to water the seeds. Dubbed a moon surface micro-ecological circle, the 18-centimeter high aluminum alloy cylinder contains silkworm eggs and seeds for potatoes and rockcress (Arabidopsis thaliana, a flowering plant related to mustard and cabbage).

The Chang'e-4 probe entered a "sleep mode" on Sunday as the first lunar night after the probe's landing fell.

"And with time moving on, it'll be the first plant with green leaves on the moon", he added.


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