At a time when SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has revealed his grand plan of colonising Mars, China is focusing on making the Moon more habitable and setting up human colonies on the Earth’s natural satellite (at least in the distant future). But for now, it is planning to send potatoes and silkworm to the Moon next year.

China is planning to send mini-ecosystems containing potato seeds and silkworm eggs to the lunar surface in 2018 in an attempt to study if the insects can survive on the moon and if potatoes can grow in the space (does it remind of The Martian? We thought so too!).

The study is being led by the researchers from the Chongqing University, who will be sending a 16-centimeteres tall cylinder containing the ‘mini ecosystem’ to space. The project will be send to the lunar surface by the Chinese lunar exploration mission Chang’e 4, which is scheduled to be launched in 2018.

According to Zhang Yuanxun, the researcher who designed the ecosystem, the silkworms will hatch and create carbon dioxide, while the potato seeds will generate oxygen, which is necessary for the survival of any species.

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The ultimate aim of the project is to prepare the moon for future landings and make it habitable for humans. Interestingly, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) will live stream the development of the potatoes and silkworms from the lunar surface to the entire world.

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China is planning to send a manned mission to the Moon and according to the officials, the preliminary preparations for the lunar landing have already begun. The space agency is now working towards getting the official approval and funding for the mission.

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