China to send monkeys into space to study zero gravity reproduction: Report

Chinese space scientists intend to use monkeys in an experiment to observe how they develop and/or reproduce in zero gravity, according to various media reports.

China to send monkeys into space to study zero-gravity reproduction: Report

Chinese space scientists intend to use monkeys in an experiment to observe how they develop and/or reproduce in zero gravity, according to various media reports. According to South China Morning Post, the experiment will be carried out within the Wentian lab module on China’s brand-new Tiangong space station.

Following research on smaller organisms, Zhang Lu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, stated last week that “some tests involving mice and macaques will be carried out to observe how they develop or even breed in space.”

According to reports, he stated that “these trials would assist increase our understanding of an organism’s adaptability to microgravity and other space settings.” The zero gravity, according to some earlier ground experiments, may harm testicles and other reproductive systems, causing test animals’ levels of the sex hormone to significantly fall.

The experiment is expected to be conducted in the Wentian module of the space station that docked earlier this year. Although the module now only has space for algae, fish, or snails, it has been built in a way that allows it to expand and be configured for bigger creatures. According to the report, if the monkeys are taken to the space station, they will need to be fed and have their excrement disposed of.

One of the highlights of China’s well-funded space programme, which has placed robotic rovers on Mars and the Moon and made it the third nation to put people in orbit as it tries to catch up with major space faring powers like the United States and Russia, is the Tiangong space station.

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Last Tuesday, according to state media, the last module of the space station successfully docked with the main body. In an effort to catch up to major spacefaring nations like the United States and Russia, China has made significant investments in its space programme.

Originally published at Asianet Newsable