The first Moon-grown seeds have sprouted, China's space programme claims, marking what could be a significant step towards long-term space exploration.
China National Space Administration announced on Tuesday the cotton seeds taken to the Moon by its Chang'e-4 mission - which on 3 January became the first to land on the Moon's far side - had sprouted buds.
It marks the first time any biological matter has grown on the Moon, and is being seen as a significant step towards long-term space exploration.
Plants have been grown on the International Space Station before but never on the Moon.
The ability to grow plants on the Moon could be integral for long-term space missions, like a trip to Mars which would take about two-and-a-half years.
It would mean that astronauts could potentially harvest their own food in space, reducing the need to come back down to Earth to resupply.
"We have given consideration to future survival in space," the experiment's chief designer, Prof Xie Gengxin, told South China Morning Post.
"Learning about these plants' growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base," he said.
The Chinese Moon lander was carrying among its cargo soil containing cotton and potato seeds, yeast and fruit fly eggs contained within an 18cm tall, 3kg canister designed by 28 Chinese universities.
China's Xinhua news agency said that the seeds were rendered dormant using "biological technology" for the 20-day journey from Earth to the Moon.
They began growing once ground control centre sent a command to the probe to water the seeds.
The crops will try to form a mini biosphere - an artificial, self-sustaining environment designed to test photosynthesis and respiration.
The organisms inside have a supply of air, water and nutrients to help them grow.
Chinese scientists say one of the challenges is to keep the temperature favourable for growth when conditions on the Moon swing wildly between -173C and 100C or more.
Xinhua said the probe had taken about 170 pictures so far which have been sent back to Earth.
On Friday, the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) released several images taken by the probe including panoramic images of the landing site as well as video of the vehicles touching down.