As China observes the first Space Day of China on Monday, the significance and advantages of space science and technology are once again highlighted.

As China observes the first Space Day of China on Monday, the significance and advantages of space science and technology are once again highlighted. Across the country, more than 400 events are held, including exhibitions, science popularisation lectures, space knowledge competitions, and pertinent seminars.

The China National Space Administration and the Chinese Academy of Sciences released a series of global images of Mars taken during China’s first Mars exploration mission at the launch event of the Space Day of China in Hefei, the capital of east China’s Anhui Province.

According to Zhang Rongqiao, the mission’s chief designer, “the global images of Mars will provide a better quality base map for Mars exploration and scientific research.” He continued, “Tianwen-1 has made an important contribution to human deep space exploration.”

Applications of technologies and goods influenced by space achievements can be found all over the country. China, a significant agricultural nation, is modernising its agriculture with the aid of its space initiatives in order to boost productivity and raise farmers’ income.

Chen Ping, a farmer in Susong County, Anhui Province, used a drone to feed his crayfish. The drone is connected to the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), allowing it to fly automatically based on preset routes.

Chen added that using a drone saves time and improves the utilization of the feed. With the help of another person to load the feed onto the drone, Chen can finish feeding 100 mu (about 6.67 hectares) of water area in just one hour, which would require four people to complete using traditional methods in the same amount of time.

Susong, adjacent to the Yangtze River, boasts over 11,300 hectares of crayfish farms. Drones have become a popular tool in large-scale crayfish farms, easing the burden of farmers. Since its official launch in 2020, the BDS has been operating continuously, steadily, and reliably, providing powerful satellite navigation services.

More than 100,000 agricultural machines have been installed with the BDS automatic driving system, covering agricultural production processes such as deep plowing, rice transplanting, sowing, plant protection, harvesting, straw treatment, and drying.

Luo Junjie, a 31-year-old farmer in Qapqal Xibe Autonomous County of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is leading his team of 15 busy farmers, planting corn and wheat on about 533 hectares of farmland and having 13 sets of agricultural machinery.

Equipped with the BDS, the team’s tractors and drones can operate automatically according to pre-planned routes.

In order to monitor pests and diseases and forecast crop yields, China has also launched a number of remote sensing satellites that provide high-resolution images of crop growth, soil moisture levels, and other information.

Better seeds have also been produced in part due to China’s achievements in space. China has successfully bred a variety of seeds, including grains, fruits, and vegetables, contributing to the nation’s food security through the launch and recovery of an increasing number of spacecraft.

In 2013, the Fuyang City, Anhui Province, Academy of Agricultural Sciences sent 100 grammes of a self-developed wheat variety into space. The academy eventually discovered a superior strain after conducting numerous rounds of field screening, and it later received approval for widespread planting in 2021.

Li Fuhua, Party chief of Yezhai Village in Fuyang City said, “Compared with previous varieties, the new one grows more uniformly, has larger ears of wheat and shorter stalks, and is more resistant to strong winds.” On 266 hectares of farmland, the village first planted the new variety last year.

Feng Jiachun with the academy stated that, a total of 26,600 hectares were planted with the new variety in the autumn of 2022, covering the provinces of Anhui, Henan, and Jiangsu. Following more than 3,000 space breeding experiments, more than 240 main grain varieties and over 400 vegetable, fruit, grass, and flower varieties have received final approvals for mass planting.

According to a current exhibition in Beijing on the accomplishments of China’s manned space programme over the past 30 years, they have generated direct economic benefits totaling over 360 billion yuan (roughly 52.3 billion dollars) and an increase in grain output of about 2.6 billion kg per year.

Guo Rui, a space breeding scientist with the Space Science and Technology Center, said, “With the completion of China’s space station and the consistent launch of Shenzhou series of spaceships, we can carry out more plant cultivation, propagation, and breeding experiments in the country’s space station” (Hefei).

According to Guo, this will encourage the sustainable growth of space breeding and entice more researchers, breeding specialists, and businesses to get involved.