US, Chinese scientists collaborate on historic space experiment

World Today

Scientists from China and the U.S. will work together on a space experiment on the international space station for the first time.

CGTN’s Sean Callebs reports.

Scientists from the Beijing Institute of Technology are putting the finishing touches on an experiment that will be conducted in the unforgiving environment of space.

It’s work that will help determine whether humans can survive a prolonged journey in space-where astronauts are bombarded with ten times the radiation levels on earth.

“Space radiation could cause harm to the astronauts, especially when they are in space for a long period of time. One of the biggest risks from space flight is gene mutation, we hope to do more research on this and learn how big the risk of gene mutation is for humans in space.”, Deng Yulin of the School of Life Science at BIT said.

Potentially ground-breaking research but Professor Deng, and his team have already made history. Despite the fact, there is a strict U.S. law that prohibits NASA from doing work with China – this will be the first Chinese experiment ever flown on the International Space Station.

“Every day you feel like, hey we might be making a huge discovery today that affects all of humanity”, said Colonel Jack D. Fisher a NASA flight engineer.

The Chinese experiment will be carried to the ISS, on a Space-X rocket privately funded.

It is all legal, and above board, because a private U.S. based company called NanoRacks is handling the payload and works closely with NASA and bills itself as a concierge to the stars.

“We do pride ourselves on being a vehicle that educational entities can come to and go through the system in a less than intimidating fashion, we spend a lot of time making the process as easy and painless as possible for our customers.”, said Mary Murphy an international payloads managers at Nanorocks.

The Beijing Institute of Technology has had its share of challenges. The project is the culmination of two years of work, and negotiations to make sure it’s done legally and within strict U.S. government guidelines.