Professor XIE Gengxin of Chongqing University said a canister installed on the probe contained the seeds of cotton, rapeseed, potato, and arabidopsis, as well as eggs of fruit fly and some yeast, to form a simple mini biosphere. After Chang’e-4 landed on Jan. 3, ground control initiated to water the plants, and a tube directs natural light on the surface of the moon into the canister to allow the plants to grow. Images sent by the probe so far showed that a cotton sprout had started to grow, though no other plants were found growing. According to XIE, potatoes could be a major source of food for future space travelers. The growth period of Arabidopsi, is short and easy to observe. Yeast could play a role in regulating carbon dioxide and oxygen in the mini biosphere, and the fruit fly would be the consumer of the photosynthesis process.

CAS news release, January 16, 2019