Space-exposed seeds are the seedlings that brought to high-altitude balloons, satellites or spacecraft and are exposed to the radiation of cosmic rays, vacuum and microgravity to trigger or speed up mutation rate. The exposed seeds would be sent to the laboratory for screening, or hybridizing with some crops with desired growing factors, in order to cultivate new crop varieties and biological products. Unlike the genetically modified food, no foreign genes are introduced.
The earth’s surface atmosphere has always blocked all kinds of radiation from the universe and protected the living things, including plants, on the ground. Scientists send the seeds to space in the hope of causing the species mutate after being exposed under the influence of cosmic rays, and then select high-quality species and cultivate them to become space plants. “Space seeds” have stronger vitality then its counterpart on Earth and they can better adapt to the polluted environment.