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Current Affairs

China’s Space rice

Date: 16 July 2021 Tags: Space

Issue

Rice has been harvested in China from the seeds that went to lunar space along with the Chang’e-5 Lunar mission.

 

Background

The Chang’e-5 mission was undertaken for duration of 23 days during which the rice seeds were exposed to sub-zero gravity conditions.

 

Details

  • The seeds were obtained as a payload and weighed around 40 gm. They were planted in Space breeding research centre in Guangdong province.

  • The seeds that have been exposed to space conditions may mutate and give higher yields. This is because of the cosmic radiations in space.

  • The event is not new since China has been taking plant seeds to space since 1987. Other seeds that have been approved for planting include tomato and cotton.

  • The seeds are currently planted for breeding. Once they are in enough quantity, large scale planting in open fields can be conducted.

 

Importance

  • The space seeds can be studied for understanding effects of gravity and cosmic rays on cells. It will be useful for future civilization on Mars and Moon.

  • It will also be needed if long term space stay has to be conducted and taking payloads from Earth is not possible.

  • In such case, plants have to be grown in space conditions and their effect on human body needs to be known in detail.