Chinese embassy, PSF offer ‘Descriptive Letter Writing Competition to Chinese Astronauts’

Islamabad: Chinese embassy in Pakistan and Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) are jointly organizing a competition titled “Descriptive Letter Writing Competition to Chinese Astronauts” for students interested in space and breeding of crops in space.

The entries can be submitted till September 20 at the PSF office address. A spokesperson said the PSF being the premier organization for the promotion and popularization of science in the country conducts such competitions on regular basis to inculcate students’ interest in various fields of science.

Institute of Crop Sciences (ICS), Beijing is China’s leading institute working under the Chinese academy of Agricultural Sciences for the development of new seed varieties for increased yield and enhanced resistance against diseases and viruses.

ICS is also running ‘The National Center of Space Mutagenesis for Crop Improvement’ whose main function is to send seeds for short trips to space to help scientists in developing new crop varieties that can thrive in the changing climate and help feed the world’s growing population.

In May 2022 more than 12,000 seeds of several types of grass, oats, fungi, alfalfa and others including some from the University of Karachi were sent to spacecraft for breeding while orbiting our planet, where they are under microgravity and are bombarded by cosmic rays, which trigger the plants to mutate a process known as space mutagenesis. After six months, the seeds and thus bred plants are coming back from space in December 2022.

About the requirements for descriptive letter writing competition, the PSF informed that the descriptive letter should be not more than 500 words (typed in Times New Roman on A-4 paper on 1.5 space and consist of Key words) Pakistan-China Friendship, Prevailing technologies about plant breeding, Space mutagenesis by plants, Effect of gravity on plant growth, Question and queries, Suggestion and any other related information.

The particulars of students must include complete Name, father’s name, school, class, date of birth, email, cell number, school and home address/complete information should be provided on a separate sheet, not included in 400 words main letter.

The medium of competition is English while the students from government and private schools of Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC) levels are eligible to participate. The entries should be signed/stamped by the Head of the School/Institute. The letters should reveal students’ interest in space and the breeding of crops in space.

After evaluation by the PSF’s expert committee, the selected letters will be sent to Chinese researchers. The winning students will be awarded certificates and cash prizes.

Female students have been encouraged to participate in the competition. The related info can be obtained from the internet and websites of the Chinese Institute of Crop Sciences, The National Center of Space Mutagenesis for Crop Improvement, China and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.