Is China considering sending monkeys to its new space station? The report says yes | world news
China plans to send monkeys to its new Tiangong space station to study how they grow and reproduce in a zero-gravity environment, we have learned. The research would be conducted in the Tiangong space station module, the South China Morning Post reported.
“These experiments will help improve our understanding of an organism’s adaptation to microgravity and other spatial environments,” the report said, citing Zhang Lu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.
Examining the reproductive mechanism of monkeys in weightlessness poses several hurdles, because since monkeys are larger animals, scientists will need to focus on how to get them to maintain close contact in the new space environment. The report also states that the scientists also believe that feeding the monkeys during the study period and managing their waste would be a major concern.
Additionally, the report says it would be difficult for the monkeys to stay stress-free and comfortable in their space station enclosures.
China’s Tiangong space station is currently populated by a crew of two male and one female astronauts – Chen Dong, Cai Xuzhe and Liu Yang. The astronauts arrived in June and will complete assembly of the station before the end of this year.