China is all set to send zebrafish to its Tiangong space station to understand how astronauts face bone loss in microgravity, the media reported.

The small fish species will be sent into orbit on Tiangong as part of research into the interaction between fish and microorganisms in a small closed ecosystem, Zhang Wei, assistant to the commander-in-chief of the China Manned Space Engineering Space Application System, was quoted as saying by Global Times.

Previously, many other organisms including space rice “Xiaowei,” arabidopsis thaliana “Xiaonan,” and multiple groups of nematodes have already visited the Chinese space station.

Zebrafish share high homology with human genes, up to 87 percent.

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They were also sent to the Soviet Union’s Salyut 5 space station in 1976 aboard the Soyuz 21 mission.

Soviet cosmonauts conducting experiments with the fish found that the Zebrafish appeared to modify some of their behaviors in response to living in microgravity.

Tiangong has prepared a space home for them – the life ecological science experiment system located in the Wentian lab module. It is a closed “aquarium” with about one litre of water that can breed four to five zebrafish, as well as some algae and microorganisms.

An automatic feeding device has been developed. An intelligent system that monitors fish growth and automatically feeds them was developed and entered space with the launch of the Wentian lab module in 2022, the report said.

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Further information regarding the timeline of the experiment and its aquatic apparatus was not disclosed.