Science Space China Just Grew the First Plant on the Moon By Ilana Strauss Yale University University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Ilana Strauss is a journalist who began writing for the Treehugger family in 2015. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Cut, New York Magazine, and other publications. our editorial process Ilana Strauss Updated January 16, 2019 ©. Vovan/Shutterstock Share Twitter Pinterest Email Science Space Natural Science Technology Agriculture Energy That's one small leaf for the moon, one giant leap for moon colonies. As you may know, I'm not a huge fan of space travel. I mean, I think it's cool, I just get annoyed with anyone who thinks Elon Musk will save humanity by building colonies on Mars. (That's right, Musk. Come at me, broh!) But I am a fan of plants. And the idea that you could actually create an ecosystem on a rock in space is a pretty cool one. I should know — I'm part of an ecosystem on a rock in space. Apparently, I'm not the only one. The Chinese wanted to find out if they could grow life on the moon. So they sent a probe into space with cotton seeds. Once the probe landed, the system watered the seeds, and boom ... They sprouted. "This (mission) has achieved the first biological experiment on the moon of human history, to sprout the first bud on the desolate moon," wrote Xie Gengxin, the Chongqing University dean who designed the experiment, on the university blog. "And with time moving on, it'll be the first plant with green leaves on the moon." The Chinese are also attempting to grow potatos, mouse-ear cress and rapeseed on the moon. Plus, they're working on hatching fruit fly eggs. People have gotten seeds to sprout in space before, but never on the moon. Growing food is a big deal if you want humans to travel on long missions or build space colonies (ugh). “Experts are still discussing and verifying the feasibility of subsequent projects, but it’s confirmed that there will be another three missions after Chang’e 5,” Wu Yanhua, China's National Space Administration deputy head, explained at a press conference. I'm torn between thinking this is pretty cool and thinking it's an exorbitant feat using resources that could be better directed towards more useful things. I guess it's both?