Saturday April 01, 2023

Pakistani herbal seeds’ return from space station celebrated

February 09, 2023

Islamabad : As sending seeds for short trips to space helps scientists develop new varieties that can thrive in the changing climate and help feed the world’s growing population and also treat incurable diseases, China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) launched Pakistani herbal seeds into outer space in June 2022 and, after six months flying, returned them safely to the earth in December.

Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative (PD&SI), said “Space technology is one of those technologies which is most critical for human development and security of any nation”, adding that “collaboration with China will open doors of development for us in future”. A ceremony titled “China-Pakistan Space Science and Technology Cooperation”, Cao Zhouhua, Science Commissioner Chinese Embassy, handed over the seeds and the certification to Professor Iqbal Choudhary, Director International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences ICCBS, Professor Liu Xinmin, Professor Dr. Yu and Professor Dr. Atia-tul-Wahab, according to Gwadar Pro.

Professor Dr. Liu Xinmin and Director Professor Iqbal Choudhary conceived the idea of sending Pakistani seeds into Chinese airspace station and as the idea was shared with Chinese Embassy, it took prompt action to make it happen. On June 5, the herbal seeds were launched into outer space carried by the Shenzhou-14 manned spaceship, and were returned to the earth with the Shenzhou-14 astronaut crew on December 4, 2022. “Today is the beginning of astrobotany in Pakistan with the help of China; we will have very systematic research on those seeds and coming to work in this particular field in the future also,” said Professor Iqbal Choudhary, adding “We have collaboration in traditional Chinese medicines; western Chinese medicines are very close to Islamic medicine aka eastern medicines or ‘Unani’ medicines”.

Professor Liu Xinmin while sharing his insights on “Chinese-Pakistan Cooperation on Medicinal Plants” said that China and Pakistan have a long history of traditional medicines: Traditional Chinese Medicines (TMC) in China and Traditional Unani Medicine (TUM) in Pakistan. Earlier, Professor Shahid Baig, chairman of the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) in his welcome address said that the prospects of collaborations are immense”.