Researchers in China have successfully grown rice and thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) on board the Chinese Space Station, the Chinese Academy of Sciences says. The two plants were cultivated in space and completed the entire growth process from seed to seed. This is the first time rice has been grown from seed to seed in space. Only thale cress, rape, peas, and wheat had previously been grown from seed to seed in space.
First results of the experiments show that rice plants become looser in space with larger leaf angles and the spiral upward movement of their leaf growth is more accentuated. Short-grain rice grew shorter while the height of tall-grain rice was not significantly affected. The seeds, along with other bio-samples, have been delivered to the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, and will also be transferred to labs in Shanghai, China, for further research.
Rice is one of the most important crops in the world and is seen as a potential candidate for the life support system in deep space exploration. Thale cress is a popular model organism in plant biology and genetics.
The results of the study have not yet been published.
- Fan Anqi, Fan Wei, World’s first rice seeds harvested in orbit onboard China Space Station return to Earth, Global Times Dec 05, 2022. (accessed December 14, 2022)
- LIU Jia, Space Rice Seeds Return from Orbit, Chinese Academy of Sciences Dec 06, 2022. (accessed December 14, 2022)