Saturday’s SpaceX launch carried a secret payload—a Chinese experiment
Bill Ingalls/NASA

The reuse of a Dragon spacecraft captured most of the headlines after Saturday’s SpaceX launch of its Falcon 9 rocket on a supply run to the International Space Station.

But this particular Dragon made history in another way: by carrying a Chinese science experiment to the station for the first time. US-China space cooperation has been a taboo until now.
The experiment will study the effects of space radiation on DNA, specifically the rate at which DNA mutates in the space environment, which could have implications for long-duration human spaceflight. Led by Deng Yulin of the Beijing Institute of Technology, the experiment will run for about 30 days on the space station before it returns to Earth aboard the Dragon spacecraft.
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