Cotton sprouts seen close-up under a protective cover on board the Moon lander.

China's space agency has announced that the cotton seeds it sent to the Moon on its Chang’e 4 lander have sprouted. This is the first time organic material has been grown on the Moon.

The Chinese space agency (CNSA) said that it put the seeds in a kind of hibernation for their journey and they were awoken by the probe watering them.

Along with the cotton the agency has also sent rapeseed and potatoes. With these three things it claims that a human colony on the Moon could one day be possible.

We're certainly excited about the idea of Moon chips, although it's unclear how safe a lunar deep fat fryer would be.

 CNSA has also sent yeast which initially suggested it might be considering beer or wine, but sadly a lack of lunar sugar makes this currently impractical.

Fruit flies were also sent and like the other samples these are sealed in capsules with a strictly controlled atmosphere. With the Moon's temperatures hitting highs of 200 degrees Celsius it was necessary to keep things cool for the biological experiments.

The experiment's chief designer, Professor Xie Gengxin, said:

“We have given consideration to future survival in space. Learning about these plants’ growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base”.

China's Chang'e 4 lander touched down on the surface of the Moon on January 3 this year. As well as conducting several biological science tests the mission also has a rover which has sent stunning panoramas back to Earth.

Landing on the far side of the Moon is a technical challenge because the Moon is tidally locked to Earth, meaning we only ever see one side. Getting radio signals to the other side require a relay of some kind.

China solved this problem by putting the Queqiao relay satellite in a lunar orbit first. Queqiao achieved an orbit of 40,000 miles from the surface of the Moon on June 14 2918.

China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe.