Shenzhou-14 taikonauts conduct in-orbit science experiments, prepare for space walks

BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Scientific endeavors aboard China's space station are expected to bear fruits, as the Shenzhou-14 taikonauts have devoted more time to microgravity experiments on the orbiting core module Tianhe since entering it a month ago.

File photo: CFP

China's space station is designed to be a versatile space lab, capable of accommodating 25 experiment cabinets for scientific exploration. The China Manned Space Agency has released video updates from space, which show that the station's core module is packed with research equipment, and the experiments in orbit span a range of disciplines, including microbiology, physics and medicine.

The three-member crew has conducted microbial tests in water, air and surface samples, aiming to ensure that they can stay safe and comfortable during the six-month spaceflight. They also installed a device for carbon dioxide reduction and regeneration in their orbiting home.

In the latest update, the trio was seen undergoing an eye examination and medical aid training.

Commander Chen Dong was spotted testing a spacesuit, preparing for the upcoming spacewalks out of the lab module Wentian, which is scheduled to be launched this month.

The experiment cabinets installed on Wentian will allow the taikonauts to perform experiments on molecules, cells, tissues and organs by using diverse online detection methods, such as visible light, fluorescence, or microscopic imaging.

However, it has not been all about the experiments and construction of the space station for the trio. They are also maintaining a decent work-life balance in orbit.

Recent videos captured them doing workouts on treadmills and exercise bikes to reduce the impact of microgravity exposure on the body.

Female taikonaut Liu Yang, donning a light pink waistcoat, was seen folding colorful paper stars for leisure and collecting them in a glass bottle. The video has drawn more than 1.2 million hits since China's space agency shared it on the microblogging site Sina Weibo on Tuesday.

Some media reports linked Liu's pastime activity to what she said before the mission --"write blessings to her children 'in the stars' during the space trip."

"Expecting her to bring back a bottle full of stars," commented a social media user.

Wu Dawei, deputy chief designer of China's manned space program taikonaut system, praised the Shenzhou-14 crew as "a young, lively and rigorous team with good physical, operational and psychological conditions."

China launched the Shenzhou-14 spaceship on June 5, sending three taikonauts Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe to its space station combination for a six-month mission. During their stay in orbit, the crew will witness two lab modules, the Tianzhou-5 cargo craft and Shenzhou-15 crewed spaceship, docking with the space station core module.