Sunday, May 19, 2024

Zebrafish in Good Condition after 20 Days at China’s Space Station

Zebrafish in Good Condition after 20 Days at China’s Space Station

The four zebrafish brought into orbit by the Shenzhou-18 crew spacecraft on April 26, 2024, are in good condition after staying 20 days at China’s Tiangong space station, according to researchers.

The four fish are living in a small "aquarium" in the station's Wentian laboratory module. They were sent to the space station for a life science and ecological experiment. It required the three Shenzhou-18 astronauts, Ye Guangfu, Li Cong and Li Guangsu, to create a simplified version of an aquatic ecosystem using zebrafish and hornwort to study how the space environment affects their growth and system balance.

So far, the astronauts have successfully carried out two water sampling measurements and a fish food container replacement. They have found abnormal directional behaviors of the zebrafish in microgravity, such as making rotational movements, going in circles, and even swimming upside-down.

The water samples, fish eggs, and video recordings of zebrafish spatial movement behaviors will be sent back to Earth for scientists to study the influence of the space environment on the growth and behavior of vertebrates. This will provide reference for research on material circulation of contained ecosystems in space.

If the experiment succeeds, it will be a significant breakthrough for cultivating vertebrates in China's space program. Not only will the astronauts find joy in the space "aquarium," but it may also pave the way for their future counterparts to enjoy nutritious fish from their own in-orbit harvests.

Shenzhou-18 Crew:

Ye Guangfu (叶光富, commander)

Li Cong (李聪, mission specialist)

Li Guangsu (李广苏, mission specialist)

Video Credit: China National Space Administration (CNSA)/China Global Television Network (CGTN)

Duration: 2 minutes, 53 seconds

Release Date: May 17, 2024

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