China is advancing the goal of colonizing the Moon, one step at a time.

Many people have talked about setting up a colony on the moon. China is getting one step closer to making that a reality, by creating a biosphere that grows flowers and silkworms on the dark side of the moon. China’s Chang’e-4 lander and rover will deliver cocoons and seeds to the surface. The seeds will be planted in an 18cm tall bucket with water and a nutrient solution. When the plants grow they’ll provide the silkworm cocoons with oxygen to hatch. Then the silkworms will give the plants their waste and carbon dixiode to help grow, creating a miniature ecosystem. The task will be difficult, since the moon’s gravity is just 16% of ours on Earth. Plus, temperatures on the moon can vary between 212°F and -148°F. Scientists will need to keep the biosphere between 34°F and 86°F to be successful. Lessons learned from this experiment may help to one day colonize the moon. China being the first country to cultivate the moon could trigger another space race.