Tibetan plants return from orbit for study

Items from Tibet that were carried into space on a manned spacecraft last month are now available for testing in labs, China Tibet Online reported.


The 11 items include barley, forage grass, rose rhodiola, lemon, and graphene that were carried by the re-entry module returned in early May. They are of interest in studies of the germination characteristics of seeds, crop output and plant growth cycles.


Wang Junjie, a researcher at the National Astronomical Observatory of China, said the 11 items were taken to space to determine whether they would mutate in an environment of cosmic radiation, charged particles and zero gravity.


"This is to study whether species unique to Tibet will embrace variations in outer space," Wang said. "This will help boost livelihoods in the region, as well as its economy and technology,."


Wang added an increase in barley yields is expected to benefit thousands of farmers in Tibet.


"If ornamental plants such as the rose rhodiola happen to mutate in the spacecraft, there will be improvement in both its ornamental and pragmatic value." (Chinadaily) 


Chinese engineers open the re-entry module of the prototype of China's new-generation manned spacecraft that returned to Earth in early May, distributing items inside it to their owners, on May 29, 2020. [Photo by Xu Jingxing/chinadaily.com.cn]