Home Tech Xia Ke Island: In addition to the astronauts, “they” also took missions...

Xia Ke Island: In addition to the astronauts, “they” also took missions to the sky


In the past two days, the news of the Shenzhou 12 manned spacecraft has been very exciting to everyone. Sharp-eyed netizens have discovered that this big country’s heavy equipment is still “a little expert in carrying cargo from space.” What’s the matter? Daomei will take you to see it together. Shenzhou 12 launched into space (Source: Xinhua News Agency) One In the 1960s, the Soviet Union and the United States sent astronauts into space. At that time, Mao Zedong said with emotion: “How can we be considered a powerful country? We can’t even send a potato into space.” Over the past few decades, China’s aerospace can not only “take the moon in nine days,” but also take many “goods” into space by the way, but it’s not just a potato. What’s all there? Wheat, corn, soybeans, pumpkins, rice, tomatoes, peppers, cotton, and even “black eggs” that are dormant. Some netizens said that growing vegetables and raising chickens is a traditional skill of the Chinese nation. However, bringing these agricultural and sideline products to the sky is not to improve the astronauts’ food. The real purpose is to use the power of space to cultivate better varieties and increase production and income. How does it work? First, the crop seeds or test-tube seedlings are loaded into the return space capsule and into space. then, Utilizing the high vacuum of space, cosmic rays, microgravity and other co-mutations, the seeds produce genetic mutations. When they return to the ground, researchers will go through multiple generations of selection and cultivation, and finally form new varieties with stable characteristics. Compared with traditional ground mutation breeding, the special space environment makes space breeding have the characteristics of high mutation rate, large mutation range, multiple beneficial mutations, and strong stability, so it can breed high-yield, high-quality, early-maturing, and multi-resistant varieties. Space breeding (Source: China Digital Science Museum official website) Of course, not all seeds can be turned into high yield and high quality. Only a few percent or even a few thousandths of the seeds carried by satellites may mutate; breeding experts must undergo at least 4 to 6 years of selection, elimination, trial planting, and approval before they can finally select high-quality and high-yield products. . Since the 1980s, China has embarked on the road of “aerospace breeding”. At first, the seeds were carried only to detect the influence of the space environment on plant genetics. Who expected that after returning from heaven, Some radish seedlings grew strong, and the garlic seeds actually grew up to 150 grams of garlic! Therefore, since the Shenzhou-1, rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton, pumpkin, rape, cotton, peanuts, sesame, tomatoes, green peppers, alfalfa, etc. have “experienced in heaven.” With the development of space breeding technology, the scope of breeding has now become wider and wider. In addition to grains, vegetables, fruits, and oils, flowers, Chinese herbal medicines, and brewing microorganisms are also covered. What’s the effect? Liang Xiaohong, chairman of the Aerospace Breeding Industry Innovation Alliance, gave a set of data: Up to now, China has cultivated more than 700 new lines and varieties of aerospace breeding. The cumulative planting area is 150 million mu, and the promotion of industrialization has created economic benefits of more than 200 billion yuan , Practically making contributions to improve the comprehensive grain production capacity. Researchers planted seedlings of space rice carried by Chang’e-5 (Source: Xinhua News Agency) two So, what happened to the black eggs going into space? It turned out that the staff wanted to study the influence of space environment on embryo growth and genetic variation in order to select new breeds, and silky fowls were successfully selected because of their high degree of homozygosity and high economic value. Regardless of the inconspicuousness of the black eggs, as early as 19 years ago, when the Shenzhou-3 was successfully launched, it had already been in the sky. The black eggs that entered the space this time came from Wushanfeng in Taihe County, Jiangxi Province. They are not industrially polluted and are pure and environmentally friendly. The staff originally imagined that these black eggs hatched chickens on the space station, and they also developed a space incubator for this purpose. However, limited by the weight of the carrier, they can only be put into a dormant state in space, and then hatched after returning to the ground. The Shenzhou-3 space black eggs hatched successfully (Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences official website) In the history of human spaceflight, it is not uncommon for animals to go to the sky. Animals such as monkeys, dogs, rabbits, cats, mice, and fish have all entered space and participated in space experiments. Such as animals, crop seeds, etc., are important content of space biological experimental research, the purpose is to observe the phenomenon and essence of biological activities in the special environment of space. For example, biological research accounts for 32% of the application projects in the Russian and American experimental modules of the International Space Station. In addition to biological research, new materials, biofuels, antibody proteins, and anti-tumor strains have also been sent into space. For example, Shenzhou-3 is equipped with a space cell bioreactor capable of producing many therapeutic antibodies, and four types of cells with pharmaceutical prospects are selected to study the effects of microgravity on cell growth, proliferation, synthesis and secretion of active factors. Among them, 2 cell samples can produce anti-trichosanthin antibodies — This protein has a certain effect on AIDS treatment. Shenzhou VII has set a record for the loading of new materials and medical strains: there are new biological materials used in industrial biotechnology research, biofuels, medicine and food important microbial strains; there are also excellent anti-malignant tumors used in the medical field. Strains and so on. According to incomplete statistics, Among China’s more than 1,000 new materials in recent years, 80% have been developed under the traction of space technology. More than 2,000 achievements in space technology have been applied to all sectors of the national economy. Therefore, the development of manned spaceflight projects can, to a considerable extent, drive the development of basic scientific research and technologies in materials, electronics, machinery, and chemical engineering. For example, the US “Apollo” plan invested tens of billions of dollars, which directly gave birth to and strengthened a large number of high-tech industrial groups in the United States, such as liquid fuel rockets, microwave radar, radio guidance, synthetic materials, computers, and wireless communications. Later, more than 4,000 patents obtained by the plan were converted to civilian use, which further drove the development of science and technology and industrial prosperity in the United States. Today, China is also facing the same space opportunity. The aerospace industry includes many cutting-edge technologies and has become an important part of a country’s high-tech industry. It not only serves national defense, but is also widely used in the development of the national economy, resulting in more and more significant economic benefits. Around 2022, the Chinese space station will officially complete its on-orbit construction task. By then, China will deploy high-level experimental equipment in the fields of space medicine, space life and biology, materials, microgravity combustion and fluids, physics, astronomy, etc. on the space station. Scientists can carry out a lot of research work in the frontier fields of space science on the space station. Interior view of China Space Station (Photo source: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation) By then, more scientific and technological achievements will “fall from the sky” and enter the homes of ordinary people. This day is not far away. Text/Cloud Song (Source: Xinhua News Agency, Science and Technology Daily, Guangming Daily, AVIC Group, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, etc.)