China has announced the growth of the first rice sprouts from seeds that have been in space for 23 days as part of the Chang'e 5 lunar space mission in November 2020. Chinese scientists say it will help provide food for more people and make space missions easier for astronauts.
Scientists have been growing rice for over four months at the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou. In total, two thousand one-centimeter sprouts have grown. China calls it "space rice."
The sprouts will now be transplanted into the fields. Scientists hope that this will help them develop new varieties of rice that will have better yields. Therefore, it will provide food for more people. This is related to the fact that the seeds of some plants can become more fertile because of microgravity and cosmic radiation.
However, it could take 3 to 4 years for this rice to become available for sale because it must pass a series of tests.
China's Chang'e 5 space mission became famous not only because of "space rice," but also because it brought samples of lunar soil to Earth for the first time in more than 40 years. The Chinese scientists are investigating them now.