Chinese scientists are observing slow motion images of vegetables sprouting in space onboard China's first seed-breeding satellite launched on September 9.
The seed-breeding satellite, "Shijian-8", has been sending back one high-definition digital image of sprouting Chinese cabbage every two hours since September 10, scientists with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said here today.
The slow motion photography will continue throughout satellite's 15-day space flight, according to the Institute of Plant Physiology & Ecology (SIPPE) with CAS's Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences which is conducting the experiment.
This is the first space experiment conducted by China on higher plants.
After being exposed to cosmic radiation and zero gravity, some seeds are expected to mutate so their seeds may produce much higher yields and improved quality when they are planted on earth.
The experiment aims to discover just what happens to the germination and sprouting of plants when they are exposed to zero gravity, the SIPPE said.
The Shijian-8, a recoverable satellite, was launched aboard a 'Long March-2C' rocket carrier. Its mission is to expose more than 2,000 seeds of nine varieties of plants to cosmic radiation and zero gravity.
The satellite, the first specifically dedicated to the propagation of seeds, is the 23rd recoverable satellite launched by China.