Plant growth will be an important part of space exploration in the future as NASA plans for long-duration missions to the moon. NASA scientists anticipate that astronauts may be able to grow plants on the moon, and the plants could be used to supplement meals.
In anticipation of the need for research into lunar plant growth, NASA and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, or ITEEA, present the NASA Engineering Design Challenge: Lunar Plant Growth Chamber. Elementary, middle and high school students design, build and evaluate lunar plant growth chambers -- while engaging in research- and standards-based learning experiences. Students participate in the engineering design process and learn how to conduct a scientific experiment.
Choose from three ways to participate in the challenge:
1. Design, Build and Evaluate a Chamber
2. Design and Evaluate a Chamber
3. Evaluate a Chamber
Space-flown seeds are no longer available, but students can still participate in this challenge. Students can use different types of Earth-based seeds to test the designs of the lunar plant growth chambers.
Plant roots grow in different directions in space, just as they do on Earth.
NASA's Kennedy Space Center uses in-house expertise to develop a habitat to study the effects of long-duration microgravity on plants in space.
Astronauts can grow vegetables in the VEGGIE system on the space station.
See other educational opportunities associated with the STS-118 mission and the flight of the first Educator Astronaut.
Growing Plants in an Extreme Environment
A photo gallery of images follows astronaut Clay Anderson's experiment to grow basil plants on the International Space Station.
Growing the Future: Plants in Space Video
Watch as astronauts on space shuttle mission STS-118 explain plant growth chambers that they are delivering to the International Space Station so crewmembers can grow plants in space.
Students Take Over
Students test out their own ideas as part of NASA's Engineering Design Challenge to create a lunar plant growth chamber.
Swinging for the Fence
At the detention facility where he teaches, Daniel Loewen is using NASA projects to help students get their lives back on track.
Students are helping NASA research ways that astronauts might grow plants on the moon.
STS-118 Basil Seeds on the Move
The 10 million basil seeds that flew in space have moved one step closer to the classroom.