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Words in the News
Monday 12 August 2002
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  Tomatoes grown from space seeds
Grown in space
Summary: Plants which spend time in space grow bigger and stronger than their earth bound equivalents, according to researchers in China. This report from Rachel Harvey:
   
The News Listen  
  In recent years, Chinese scientists have sent more than thirty kinds of plant seeds into space, including many varieties of vegetables and medicinal herbs. The seeds are sown in unmanned spacecraft before being sent into orbit to grow as best they can in zero gravity. Now scientists at the Kewei Space Plant Propagation Base in northern Hebei province say they have successfully retrieved some of the space seedlings and replanted them back on earth. And the plants appear to be flourishing.

The researchers say plants grown from space seeds have larger leaves, stronger stems and are more resistant to pests than plants grown in the conventional way. The research could have profound implications for China which is struggling to feed a burgeoning population. And plants may not be the only items on the menu. China announced in April that three eggs which had been sent into space in an unmanned capsule had hatched successfully, to become the first space chickens.

Rachel Harvey, BBC

 
   
The Words Listen
 
  medicinal herbs
plants which can be used to make medicines

 
   
  sown
when seeds are put into the ground to grow they are ‘sown’

 
   
  unmanned spacecraft
a spaceship which does not have any people on board

 
   
  into orbit
parked a fixed distance in space rotating around the planet earth

 
   
  zero gravity
gravity is the force causes objects to fall to earth; zero gravity means there is no gravity

 
   
  seedlings
seeds which have just begun to grow

 
   
  flourishing
doing very well

 
   
  resistant
if something is resistant it means it is not easily damaged

 
   
  profound implications
important future results

 
   
  a burgeoning population
a growing population

 
   
 

Other Words in the News archives

 

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