Like Many Plants in My Apartment, the First Plant to Grow on the Moon Has Died

The first seed to sprout on the moon.
The first seed to sprout on the moon. Photo: China National Space Administration

Even faster than I could, the indifferent universe has killed off the first biological matter to ever come to life on the moon, just one day after it turned from seed to sprout. (RIP.)

Just yesterday, Xinhua reported that a baby cotton seed, which had been transported to the moon by a Chinese moon lander, had sprouted a single baby leaf, making lunar history. But fewer than 24 hours after the single sprout broke through the seed, the doomed plant died.

As someone who has also tried to raise a plant, albeit in slightly less harsh conditions, I could relate to this. Who among us has not accidentally murdered a purportedly indestructible plant in an impressively short amount of time? Sometimes you unknowingly over-water; sometimes you foolishly place a low-light plant in direct sun; sometimes lunar night falls on the dark side of the moon and temperatures plunge to -170 degrees Celsius.

Okay, fine, this last situation is actually something lead scientist Xie Gengxin anticipated — he told The Guardian he knew all along that the plant would not make it more than a day.

“Life in the canister would not survive the lunar night,” Xie said.

Dark, but honest! I’m adopting this mindset next time I drop $20 on my 500th snake plant.

First Plant on the Moon Dies, Like Many Plants I’ve Owned