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Cutting-edge bioscience experiments carried out on Tianzhou-1


04-28-2017 08:45 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

The Tianzhou-1 actually serves as a platform to carry out many key space experiments. One of these focuses on bioscience in space.

There are many questions on how seemingly ordinary things on earth would occur and react in space. But one question, could be close to an answer.

A group of Chinese scientists from the Beijing Institute of Technology have loaded human cells into a highly integrated and automated device on Tianzhou-1, with this question in mind... how will the cells be cultured and interact with the immune system in space?

Associate Professor Li Xiaoqiong says this bioscience space experiment will last about 2 weeks.

"Space will provide a special environment for the cells. One is microgravity, the other is radiation. This time we have put the cells on this micro-fluidic chip. All the micro experiments will be carried out on it by remote control," Li said.

Li said the device is now in stable operation. And in order to get a precise and direct comparison of the results, another device is also in operation in a lab here on earth.

This is exactly the same device as that inside orbiting Tianzhou-1. Through comparison with experiment results on the ground, Chinese scientists can try to find out more on how the nerve and the immune system interact in space's microgravity environment.

The bioscience experiment is pivotal as it focuses on the life support system for astronauts living in space. After years of research, Professor Deng Yulin and his colleagues successfully developed the experiment's high-tech device, which is regarded as one of the world's most advanced in the space bioscience sector. The space experiment's results are expected to offer key data on improving astronauts' immune systems.

"Through this experiment, we can find out how the astronauts' nervous and immune systems interact in space, and the possible type of impact and potential damage to their bodies. That will enable us to take measures to prevent and treat diseases as early as possible," Professor Deng said.

But Deng added that the results could be more far-reaching, to also help people on earth by improving immunity in the long run. Scientists will have the final results soon, and spend the next few months analyzing their findings. There's more on the cards though, with scientists from Switzerland and Germany keen to cooperate with the Chinese team on more bioscience space experiments.

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