In an experiment to popularize space science, sprouting cottonseed was taken up to the moon by China’s Chang’e-4 Lunar Exploration Program on January 3. The payload has a heating system which kept the seed warm for sprouting. When the payload turned off after the Chang’e-4 lander entered sleep mode to save energy on January 13, the plant died quickly of extreme cold. During the 212.75 hours from power-on to power-off, the payload worked well. Some of the results exceeded expectations, as explained by XIE Gengxin, the payload’s designer and dean of Chongqing University’s Institute of Advanced Technology. The payload transmitted more than 170 pictures back to the Earth.
CAS news release, January 18, 2019