Most of us have seen this picture of the cotton seed currently sprouting inside a Chinese lander on the far side of the moon: enter image description here Source

The image shows see a plastic grid with a gelatinous overlay of some sort, a water supply tube to the left, and a green material underneath which I presume is growth media rather than a forest of plants.

My question: where in that image is the much-vaunted sprout?

  • $\begingroup$ In this chinese article, a section of the image is highlighted. The article seems to suggest that a cotton bud is visible there (I used google translate). $\endgroup$
    – Polygnome
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Polygnome I think I might understand what I'm seeing now, but it would be clearer with a before shot. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Polygnome Thanks, and I see what they're referring to, and maybe it's the sprout, but there's no way to tell for sure... $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 14:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's dead, Jim. cnn.com/2019/01/17/asia/china-moon-seed-dead-intl/index.html $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 1:52

1 Answer 1


The announcement was first made by the vice principle of Chongqing University (the primary designer of the growth module) on the 15th of January and you can find the original article summary from their university website here (in Chinese of course). The first image is from the lunar module (the actual time the photo was taken was 7th January around 10am). The other images in the article are actually from the earth-based control.

As for which part of the image is the actual plant, various media have highlighted it as such:


Here's a magnified view:

enter image description here

Unfortunately this is the only image of the actual lunar growth module that the university has released at this point.


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