The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
China Says It Has Sprouted Plants on the Moon
By Dan Nosowitz
You'd think if you just supply plants with the right temperature, some sunshine and some water, you could farm pretty much anywhere—even the moon.
It turns out moon-farming is much more complicated than that, with hazards coming in from all sides. Yet despite all the challenges, representatives working on the Chinese moon lander Chang'e-4 announced this week that they had successfully sprouted a plant on the moon for the first time ever.
The moon gets plenty of sunlight, at least in some areas, but without the protection of an atmosphere like Earth's, that sunlight does more harm than good, at least to plants. Cosmic radiation and solar flares can fry a plant before it has a chance to grow. That's why the University of Arizona's moon-farm simulator, at the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, grows plants underground, with only artificial lighting.
Chang'e-4's mission included an attempt at a self-contained biosystem, with seeds, nutrients, water, yeast and fruit fly eggs, to be composed into a hydroponic circulation setup. According to Nature, which spoke to the chief designer of the experiment, the project succeeded in sprouting cotton plants, with future plans for both potatoes and Arabidopsis. (The latter is a relative of kale that's commonly used for experiments.) The China National Space Administration posted pictures of the sprouting cotton, dated January 7th, last week.
According to Inkstone News, a publication dedicated to China-focused stories, the experiment actually ended when the plants died, during a 12-day-long lunar night that shortly followed the cotton's sprouting. Inkstone says that the Chang'e-4 hadn't brought enough power to maintain the rigid temperature controls for long.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)
Veganism refers to a way of living that attempts to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty. For this reason, vegans aim to exclude all foods containing meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and honey from their diet (1).
'Finally!': Court Orders EPA to Stop Stalling Potential Ban on Pesticide Tied to Brain Damage in Kids
By Jessica Corbett
In a ruling welcomed by public health advocates, a federal court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to stop stalling a potential ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, giving regulators until mid-July to make a final decision.
At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.
To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.
By Shuchi Talati
Solar geoengineering describes a set of approaches that would reflect sunlight to cool the planet. The most prevalent of these approaches entails mimicking volcanic eruptions by releasing aerosols (tiny particles) into the upper atmosphere to reduce global temperatures — a method that comes with immense uncertainty and risk. We don't yet know how it will affect regional weather patterns, and in turn its geopolitical consequences. One way we can attempt to understand potential outcomes is through models.
By Julia Conley
Green groups on Saturday celebrated the latest federal ruling aimed at preventing President Donald Trump from rolling back environmental regulations that were put in place by his predecessor.
By Tim Radford
Scientists have identified yet another hazard linked to the thawing permafrost: laughing gas. A series of flights over the North Slope of Alaska has detected unexpected levels of emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide from the rapidly warming soils.