Chinese cuisine

Space technology lands on Earth

Astronaut Wang Yaping, a member of the Shenzhou XIII crew, gives a lecture from the Tiangong space station to students in Macau in December. ZHANG JINJIA/XINHUA

More than 4,000 technologies developed for China’s manned space program have been widely applied in a number of sectors. For example, space breeding technology alone has generated more than 200 billion yuan ($30 billion) so far, officials said.

Last month, Hao Chun, director of the China Manned Space Agency, told a press conference that the country’s manned space program was a great cause “both noble and down to earth”. He added that its evolution can lead to upgrades of related industries and promote great socio-economic development.

Over the 30 years of operation of China’s manned space program, more than 4,000 technological achievements have been widely used, driving innovation in sectors such as raw materials, microelectronics, machinery manufacturing and communications .

For example, spatial breeding technology has not only promoted crop improvement, but has also been employed in areas such as food processing and the cultivation of bacteria and biopharmaceuticals. As such, it has generated economic benefits and contributed to food security and environmental protection.

Hao said human spaceflight is an activity that includes the most complex systems, the most intensive achievements and the most dynamic innovations.

For example, liquid propellant rocket engine heat control systems can be used to improve the gasification of pressurized pulverized coal combustion, address household waste disposal issues, and improve fuel cell performance. to hydrogen.

In addition, the research and development processes of technologies related to controls, measurements, image processing and other components used in rockets, spacecraft and space stations can promote the upgrading of systems. intelligent industrial controls.

The heat-resistant core technology of manned spacecraft has been used to manufacture thermal insulation materials for civilian use. The recent Beijing Winter Olympics also adopted a large number of aerospace technologies for use in the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as in athlete training equipment.

Many space technologies have also been adapted for civilian use, such as instant food and daily necessities, including diapers, while space protein crystallization is being researched to help develop new drugs. to treat osteoporosis and muscular dystrophy.

In addition, inhabited space environment control and life support technology, as well as research into microgravity combustion mechanisms and research into new materials can also be translated into a range of areas related to livelihoods and offer more benefits, according to Hao.

“In the future, the Chinese space station will conduct a large number of experiments in space life science, space material science, microgravity fluid physics and space medicine, which are expected to lead to significant results and to breakthroughs in scientific exploration and applied research,” he added. mentioned.

“We believe these technologies will be adopted more frequently to serve socio-economic development, the national economy and people’s livelihoods.”

Space technologies have served daily life throughout the world’s history of space exploration.

The commercialization of adult diapers was quickly promoted in the 1960s after NASA astronaut Alan Shepherd allegedly had to urinate in his spacesuit while waiting for Freedom 7 to launch in 1961.

The air-cushioned shoe is derived from a process known as “rubber blow molding” used by NASA to create the spacesuit. In 1979, Frank Rudy, a NASA employee, came up with the idea of ​​using this sealed cushioning system as a shoe midsole and presented it to Nike Inc.

This pitch resulted in the birth of Nike Air, one of the company’s best-selling lines.

Freeze-dried foods are also part of today’s diets, thanks to space technology. In the early days of the United States’ manned space program, a key issue was ensuring that astronauts could be fed in orbit. As a result, NASA has funded research into a range of possible food preservation techniques.

The freeze-drying technique removed the water content from fruits and vegetables while retaining the nutrients.

The technique has not only helped enrich astronauts’ kitchens, but has also been applied to everyday food storage in the civilian world.

Many other common features of daily life have their origins in space technologies.

From smoke detectors, CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging in hospitals to solar panels, sunglasses and barcodes, people are enjoying the convenience brought by these space-based technologies every day.