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He said cotton could eventually be used for clothing while the potatoes could be a food source for astronauts and the rapeseed for oil. With the ability to grow edible plants, astronauts could grow and harvest their own food, enabling long-term habitation. And because lunar eclipses can occur only during a full moon - and the first full moon in January is known as a "wolf moon" - many are calling this spectacular event a "Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse". Many of these seeds were later planted back on Earth, becoming "Moon Trees".

For the first time anybody is aware of, seeds have sprouted on a celestial body beyond Earth. And even the cotton plant is looking pretty peaky compared to seedlings in a control setup the scientists established on Earth.

China says it has grown the first plants on the Moon as part of its historic mission to the far side.

Xinhua also posted a video showing a simulated seedling growth test on Earth, leading to some questions about the earlier images and whether they came from the moon experiment or its Earth counterpart.

In one giant leap for plant-kind, cotton seeds have sprouted on the far side of the moon overseas China's Chang'e-4 probe. "Learning about these plants' growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base", Liu said. This represents the first time that humans have deliberately grown living material on the moon, and indeed, any other planetary body.

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Scientists from Chongqing University, who designed the "mini lunar biosphere" experiment, sent an 18cm bucket-like container holding air, water and soil. The six-wheeled vehicle is carrying a mini biosphere with a live potato, rapeseed and arabidopsis plants, fruit fly eggs, cotton, and some yeast.

It also plans to send an unmanned mission to Mars in 2020.

The total lunar eclipse will last approximately 1 hour and 2 minutes, Space.com reports.

China's ambitions for space and lunar exploration aren't limited to the current mission.

According to Wu, the Chang'e 6 mission will be created to bring samples back from the south pole of the moon and this will be followed by probes that will conduct comprehensive surveys of the area.