Sun, Aug 13, 2006 - Page 14 News List

China looks to space for the answer to food problem 中國寄望太空解決糧食問題


Scientist Yuan Longping shows special rice plants grown at the National Hybrid Rice Research Center in Changsha, China.


China is going to launch a satellite to help develop super space-enhanced fruit, vegetables and other crops, as it tries to find ways to increase the nation’s food production.

A satellite full of seeds will be launched on a rocket in early September for a two-week mission that will expose 2,000 seeds to radiation from space. The satellite will then fall back to earth and scientists will get the seeds back.

The “seed satellite” will let scientists try to grow high-yield and high-quality plants, said Sun Laiyan, head of the China National Space Administration.

“Exposed to (a) special environment, such as space radiation and micro-gravity, some seeds will change to such an extent that they may produce much higher yields and improved quality,” Sun said. Nine different kinds of seeds will be in the satellite.

China has been experimenting with exposing seeds to space for years. In the past, rice and wheat seeds that had been exposed to space grew more rice. Tomato and green pepper seeds that have been exposed to space have grown between 10 and 20 percent more vegetables than regular seeds. Vegetables grown from space-exposed seeds also have more vitamins.

However, the satellite to be launched in September will be the first used specifically for seeds. China’s space seed experiments come as industrialization eats up farming land and makes it harder and harder to find ways to feed China’s 1.3 billion people.

The nation has experimented with genetically modified crops before. Genetically modified tomatoes, soy beans and corn are already in production. China is also considering plans to start producing genetically modified rice. (AFP)



Walt: The more I think about the world’s problems, the more upset I get.

Gene: What’s on your mind?

Walt: Well, we have so much technology, but the world seems to be getting smaller. The population is too big, and there isn’t enough food for everyone!

Gene: What if the answer to all of those problems lies in outer space?

Walt: Well that’s certainly food for thought.






food for thought 發人深省的事

Food for thought is a piece of information or an idea that is interesting and complicated. If you say something is food for thought, it means it is new and original, and needs to be thought about for a while.

「food for thought」是指某項有趣卻又複雜難懂的資訊或概念。如果一件事既新穎又原創,而且需要時間思考一下,就可以用「food for thought」來形容。







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