Media Contacts

For media support regarding the Tropi experiment, please contact:

Rachel Hoover
Office of Public Affairs
NASA Ames Research Center
650.604.0643
rachel.hoover@nasa.gov

George Diller
Launch Operations
Kennedy Space Center
321-867-2468
george.h.diller@nasa.gov

Kelly Humphries
International Space Station and Mission Operations
Johnson Space Center
281-483-5111
kelly.o.humphries@nasa.gov

Mission Update

    Tropi Experiment Update, March 10, 2010

    Astronauts onboard the International Space Station successfully completed the second, and final, Tropi experiment at 6 a.m. PST on Monday, March 8, 2010. Astronaut Jeff Williams transferred the second batch of seedlings from the European Modular Cultivation System to the station's Minus-Eighty (degrees Celsius) Laboratory Freezer where they will remain until STS-131 space shuttle Discovery undocks for its return flight in April 2010.

    The seedlings are frozen to ensure they are preserved and to prevent any ribonucleic acid (RNA) degradation, prior to being analyzed on Earth.

Overview

    TROPI-2Arabidopsis seedlings on seed cassette baseplate
    Image credit: Tom Trower/NASA
    NASA scientists will send seeds into space to better understand how and why plants grow differently in micro-gravity than on Earth. In addition to carrying a third connecting-module, called Tranquility, and a seven-windowed control room for robotics to the International Space Station, STS-130 space shuttle Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Tropi experiment to space. After running two six-day experiments studying the early stages of plant growth, Tropi will return to Earth in STS-131 space shuttle Discovery. Scientists will use data from these experiments to better understand how light and gravity affect plant growth. Future astronauts may be able to grow plants as part of life support systems on long-duration space missions to the moon or Mars.

The Team

    TROPI-2 team membersThe Tropi team in their lab at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
    Image credit: NASA Ames/Dominic Hart
    NASA Ames’ International Space Station Non-Exploration Projects Office will manage the Tropi experiment for the Advanced Capabilities Division and Exploration Technology Development Program of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington. The Multi-Mission Operations Center at NASA Ames, along with the Norwegian User Support and Operations Centre in Trondheim, will provide mission operations support and receive Tropi science data in real-time.

    John Z. Kiss, professor and chair of the Botany Department at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, is the Tropi principal investigator; Richard E. Edelmann of Miami University and Melanie J. Correll of the University of Florida, Gainesville, are Tropi co-investigators; Kenny Vassigh of NASA Ames, is the Tropi project manager; Marianne Steele of NASA Ames, is the Tropi project scientist; Tom Luzod of NASA Ames is the Tropi project engineer, David Heathcote of NASA Ames is the Tropi operations lead.

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