The Chinese space agency has made its presence felt in the field of space research by sending a probe to explore the far side of the Moon. It was a novel idea because no one has tried to do this so far, and NASA wants to work with the Chinese on a lunar mission. Of course, it will have to tread cautiously because there is no provision to share any US expertise with the country. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) and NASA have had preliminary talks, but the latter will need approval from Congress in order to proceed further because of strained relations between the US and China.

Moon collaboration idea

Telegraph UK reports the idea of a collaboration stemmed from the successful landing of the lunar probe Chang'e-4 on the far side of the Moon. It was a pioneering effort and NASA wants to study various aspects of this achievement and try to understand more about the Moon's surface. Chang'e-4 has a set of onboard instruments to gather data regarding the unexplored terrain and conduct biological experiments.

China has already taken help of NASA

China National Space Administration (CNSA) and NASA have already shared information about the landing of the lunar probe Chang'e-4. China had provided details of the location and time of the landing to NASA who had used its facilities to observe the touchdown of the Chinese lander on January 3.

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However, that did not happen due to non-availability of some basic information.

NASA’s interest is to monitor the lunar dust thrown up at the time of landing. The space exploration outfit plans to return to the Moon as desired by Donald Trump and such information will be useful.

NASA said, its “cooperation with China is transparent, reciprocal and mutually beneficial."

Chang'e 4's biological experiment fails

The Space outlet adds that the Chinese biological experiment on the lunar surface failed. Chang'e 4 had brought with it cottonseeds and they did sprout on the far side of the Moon but have withered, unable to survive the severe cold nights. The experiment began soon after it landed in Von Kármán Crater and the seeds initially handled the harsh conditions there but succumbed to the weather.

If there were a heater of sorts, the story might have been different.

The Chinese authorities have revealed that “the temperature inside the 1-liter-capacity canister had reached minus 52 degrees Celsius [minus 62 degrees Fahrenheit] and the experiment had ended" after 212.75 hours. There were efforts in the past to sprout plants in non-Earth conditions. Astronauts in the International Space Station have done it, as have the Russians aboard Mir space station, and the Chinese on their Tiangong-2 space lab.

Scientists will no doubt, concentrate on developing a system to keep such plants alive.

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