China prepares for first scientific project aboard Int’l Space Station – Xinhua

BEIJING, June 4 (Xinhua) — When the Dragon capsule docks with the International Space Station (ISS) on June 6, devices from China for the country’s first scientific research project will go aboard the ISS.

The project between the Beijing Institute of Technology and NanoRacks, a U.S. firm, aims to investigate how the space environment affects DNA, said Deng Yulin, a life science professor with the institute who leads the research project, on Sunday.

The research will study gene mutation, one of the biggest risks to astronauts working on space missions, as they are exposed to ten times the radiation levels in space than on earth, he said.

Previously, equipment for space experiments was sent via China’s 2011 launch of the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, its 2016 lift by a Long March-7 rocket and via China’s cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 in 2017.

“The research team caught evidence of the gene mutation after the first experiment via Shenzhou-8, which proves the space environment can cause DNA mutation and biomolecular changes,” said Deng.

The research aboard the ISS will continue to study whether gene mutation follows any rules in a space radiation and microgravity environment, he said.

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