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China To Send Monkeys Into Space To Study How They Reproduce There: Reports

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To better understand how they develop and reproduce in a zero-gravity environment, China is reportedly planning to send monkeys to its recently launched Tiangong space station. The experiment would be carried out in the largest module of the space station, which is primarily used for life sciences experiments, according to the South China Morning Post, which cited Chinese scientists Zhang Lu, who oversaw scientific research for the space station.

After examining smaller organisms such as fish and snails, Mr. Zhang stated that “some studies involving mice and macaques (monkeys) will now be carried out to see how they grow or even reproduce in space.” He thinks that by conducting these studies, we will learn more about how organisms adapt to microgravity and other space environments.

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According to the report, experts did note that there are still a number of challenges associated with conducting such studies on animals with complex life forms, such as rats and primates. They pointed out that during the Cold War, Soviet researchers were able to train a few mice to overcome their physical limitations and engage in sexual activity for the duration of an 18-day space mission. But none of them gave birth after returning to Earth, and there were no indications of pregnancy.

According to Kehkooi Kee, a professor at Tsinghua University’s school of medicine, the difficulties of conducting a life sciences experiment in space rose exponentially with the size of the animals used. According to the outlet, he continued, “The astronauts will need to feed them and handle the waste.”

The absence of gravity, according to some earlier ground experiments, may harm testicles and other reproductive organs, causing test animals’ levels of the sex hormone to significantly decline.

However, Mr. Kee continued by stating that “these experiments will be necessary” as more countries plan for long-term habitation in orbit around the Moon or Mars and as larger animals, particularly monkeys, exhibited more similarities to humans.


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